Sunday, February 20, 2011

Embracing the suck

A recent entry by Geoff Roes on his blog "Fumbling Towards Endurance" touches on challenges in training and mental hurdles, something I've been considering a lot lately. 

Here's an excerpt from Geoff's Feb. 12th, 2011 blog entry (a bit long, but it takes you through Geoff's thought process in recent training):
"This has been my routine for the past week: Hang around the house all morning waiting for the wind to die down. Finally head out for my run around 2:00 when the wind has invariably picked up even higher. Get really frustrated as soon as I hit the trail because all of the "work" I did to break a trail the day before has been trumped by the wind. Finally come to peace with the conditions and accept that I will be breaking through knee deep drifts for the entire run. And then after about 30 minutes I begin to even relish the difficulty that the wind has created. I start to really enjoy the effort it takes to push each step through 12+ inches of snow with a 22" platform attached to my foot. I start to notice that every step feels like I'm going up a steep hill. The more I tune into this the more I enjoy it."
I love this entry from Geoff for a few reasons, but mostly because it's so easy to relate to.

How many of us find ourselves glancing out the window at the snow, wind, rain, or dark, then huffing or diddling around indoors as we put off getting out there to train? Probably, a lot of us - especially considering recent weather this country has been seeing.

Then, once we get out there, how many of us find ourselves complaining bitterly in our heads about the weather, until we push on through the darkness, snow, or cold, to find... we are actually enjoying it?

What began as a chore can become more like a sport... and even if it still feels like work (as we push up a hill like Geoff describes), it feels like good, honest work. Work we are glad to do, and we know will see the benefit from. To use a military expression, we begin to embrace the suck... and suddenly, it doesn't suck. In Geoff's words, we relish it.

A small thing, but a good reminder when we feel ourselves dragging our feet to just get out there. Chances are, it will be fun... and we'll be glad we did it. 

As for you, Geoff Roes? I'll be seeing you at the SBER! I'll be the one embracing the suck up those hills... all 36,000 ft of them. 

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