Sunday, January 25, 2009

Psychological Games

I woke up with a headache, presumable caused more by excessive sleep (11hours!!) than by the 2 glasses of red wine preceding it! The sun was shining down on the lake outside my bedroom window, and despite my groggy head, I felt calm and content. After a few productive hours of housework, I pulled on my sweats and asics, and hit the road for the second time in as many days.

It's not a long route, at 3.5 miles it's just enough to challenge me yet still allow for achieving a respectable time. It's also not necessarily a picturesque route, seeing as it simply follows the road up and down a few hills. But I like it. It gives me manageable targets - I'll just go as far as that next little hill.... or that big tree... It feels less intimidating that way. Especially since I don't feel like a runner. I still feel like a newbie. I think I always will. (That probably says more about me and my sense of self than I could even hope to articulate!)

As I huffed and puffed along my run, with Britney blaring in my ears, I drifted off into fantasy land, as is my routine when I am engaged in a montonous form of cardio. Up until last summer, I would have envisaged glory of a Taekwon-Do nature, imagining finals of major tournaments and thinking of tactics I would use to overcome my opponents. For the last 6 months however, in my unsettled state of mind and reticence to train in TKD, I had been using other forms of mental motivation. First it was images of the 7km race, trying to picture the route and the finish line, with the target finish time on my HRM. Then I was using Perfect Body imagery, trying to imagine a Leaner Me as the goal. It wasn't a very successful form of distraction.

Today, I found myself initially picturing a Fitter, More-Toned Self, but this quickly morphed into another Taekwon-Do scene, where I was weighing in for a competition, but in a healthy (albeit far more muscular) state! Then I was imagining preparing for the ring, facing a familiar opponent, working through my footwork and tactics. Using the uphill sections of the route to trigger feelings of fatigue and tired legs, I pushed myself through the psychological barriers, and challenged myself to beat my 'opponent', and my time. It worked. I felt the thrill of adrenaline coursing through my veins, my legs becoming lighter and my pace increasing as I mentally fought to claim the Gold. It felt good to be back.

The obstacles I have faced over the last 6 months have been entirely self-created. The weight problems, the loss of a sense of self, the feelings of detachment and displacement were all under my control. And yet no amount of telling me that would have helped. This was a process I needed to endure. And survive. It saddens me to think that I felt so lost and yet I knew the way all along.

This blog, and those of you who read/comment on it, have helped me to understand the mental turmoil that I have subjected myself to. Thanks for listening.

Here's to a better and brighter 2009!



MizFit said...

you may just be living proof of what my husband and I were chatting about with regards to the athletic endeavors and visualization.

(I dont use it as much then)

I love that it helped and LOVE that you are on your way and pushing on toward a fitter CALMER more balanced 2009.

tokaiangel said...

I love my little head-scenarios I have when I'm running! I always thought I was the only one. Mine usually involve me finally achieving rock superstardom and being in some kind of stage show with lots of pyrotechnics.... what a geek!

Glad things are finally falling into place for you!

TA x

Sagan said...

That's wonderful. The way we think and our visualization can change everything. (And I totally narrate my way through life too. It's fun:)).

Shivers said...

Miz, that's funny timing! I love that you read my blog! And comment! It's funny how sometimes we need to be in very negative places in our lives before we make very necessary positive steps to improve our situation! :)

TA, I hadn't even thought that what I was doing might be unusual! Strange that! Normally I presume that anything I do is odd and out of the ordinary!! My post would probably have taken an entirely different slant if I'd thought about that! My scenarios can be quite OTT sometimes too, involving World Championships and the national anthem playing... :)

Sagan, I am so my own little narrator! Every now and then a fantasy plays itself out and I get a very strange sense of déja-vu!

Rachel said...

Wow, your post totally motivated me to get out and exercise today :) Maybe inspiration is contagious!

Shivers said...

Rachel, that's wonderful!! It's a lovely feeling when my little ramblings actually have a positive effect! :o)