“This ability to conquer oneself is no doubt the most precious of all things sports bestows on us” -Olga Korbut, Olympic gymnast
I have a 16 year old black lab named Violet. She doesn’t walk well and I think she has developed some type of old age induced-dog version of exercise related asthma. Sometimes she goes on long walks. She is excited to go but get tired quickly. She walks, stops for air, and walks a little further. Sometimes she looks up at me and I can tell she is pleading ‘How much further?’ When she gets home she collapses on the floor, sucking wind, drinks some water and usually goes to sleep.
I couldn’t help but relate to her.
I’ve never liked running. I’ve never understood why anyone does. But before I started CrossFit and knew better, I thought running long distances was good for me. So I would get up and run and I ran less than a mile and it took forever and it wasn’t fun. And then I ran 5 miles and it took forever and it wasn’t fun. And I wasn’t getting anywhere with my fitness goals. Running distances (anything over a mile) is all about perseverance and not giving up, not really fitness ability. Mental Strength.
I used to wonder why people needed to train to run 10K’s, half marathons, etc. As long as you’re not concerned with your time, then just don’t stop. Done. To me, running 400 meters sucks, and it’s not fun and it hurts, and running 7 miles sucks, and it’s not fun and it hurts. But running 1 mile is a lot like running 7 miles, only longer.
And 250 pounds on your back is not light. It’s heavy, awkward and uncomfortable. It still goes down quick and comes up slow. 250 pounds feels a lot like 350 pounds, only heavier.
But my head takes over. I’ve fallen under the bar. I’ve scrapped 300 pounds down my back. I’ve been alone and stuck on a box I couldn’t get off of. I know failing isn’t fun and often hurts. I get scared. My mind says I’m not sure and therefore my muscles say FUCK NO. They already decided. They are waiting on the slightest discomfort to let the fear win. Mental Strength.
I’ve never stepped up to a bar and wondered if I could make it and did. You have to know.
So I’m taking stuff out to my truck, yesterday and WHOA Violet stood up for no reason! (She is 16 -she doesn’t normally do that.) I let her outside with me. She slowly walked down 3 steps, looked around, walked about 5 feet to the mailbox, sniffed it, and walked back up to the front door. I let her in. She collapsed on the floor, drooling and panting. YOU FAKER! It was her routine; it’s what she’s used to doing. She forgot she hadn’t walked for 2 hours like she has before. To Violet, walking 10 feet is a lot like walking for 2 hours, only quicker.
The difference is the ability to tell yourself; your body to STFU. I got this. Obviously, it’s a lot harder than you’d think.