Friday, April 29, 2016

Mental endurance and the busy brain

I have often said that my life is "balanced on the head of a pin." I make it all work, but perhaps just barely. It doesn't take much additional load to threaten that delicate balance.

Well, this year has been quite the test. The precarious balance has been challenged by the sudden loss of my father and the ensuing responsibilities of working with my sister to help my mom, including selling a house, buying a house, and planning for an interstate move. Now we have a central member of our family (our Grandfriend) fighting for his life, on day 17 in the ICU. And my best friend is going through tough times.

But, this is life. This IS life.

Through it all, I swim, bike, and run. It's an escape from the phone and computer, from decisions, and from the noise of life. I make it happen, even when I don't want to, and I bring my best to it, whatever it is on the day.

My physical fitness and physical endurance are pretty good and my bike power numbers are strong.
And thanks to the appetite-suppressing "benefit" of stress, I'm at a good race weight, lol.

The real challenge right now is mental endurance. A busy brain and heavy heart are the enemy of speed and endurance. The busy brain yells "quit" a lot. In that condition, there is little hope for resiliency if I am under-fueled, under-hydrated, or sleep deprived.

Last weekend I had a long brick that started with a strong bike, but then mid-run, I stopped and sat on a guardrail, sobbing, and wondering what I was doing. It was all I could do to finish.

In three weeks I am racing IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga. I can't do that there. This may be my biggest racing challenge yet.

Time to dial in the mental game, nutrition, and sleep. Time to quiet the brain, and let the fitness do the job.

gratuitous Saki kitty picture