Wednesday, January 9, 2008

"What is your Antarctica?"

The beautiful Susie Q sent out an intriguing post from Kristin Armstrong's blog about Lynne Cox's book, Swimming to Antartica, in which Armstrong asks her readers "What is your Antarctica?"

As endurance athletes, we encounter pain in many forms, both physical and mental. There is the pain of pushing ourselves during our 1/2 mile repeats, the pain of tight IT bands, the pain of failing to conquer a longer distance race, and the pain of having to drag yourself out of a warm bed at 6 on a Saturday morning to face....more pain. There is also, like Fave's recent post, the happy pain of sore arms after conquering a particularly grueling weight training session, or in Susie's experience, the joyful pain of becoming an Ironman and qualifying for Boston both in the same week!

Maybe our coaches Mark and Ed are on to something (but don't tell them that): how we incorporate pain into our training is what makes us better athletes. Kristin says that in her experience, "resistance to pain is such an inhibitor to actually being in the moment (pain and all) and enduring" through long races such as a marathon. Since 2004 when I started running triathlons, I have struggled to meet my pain threshold and overcome it. I am more likely to back down, walk a bit, skip reps, or just pack it in and go home. As I go through this year, I'll have ample opportunity to meet that threshold--I hope I can cross it and learn to use it to build my strength, both mental and physical. TriGirl Shawn's fortune cookie said it all: "The pain you feel today will pay rewards in the future." We will PERSEVERE.


SusieQ said...

I'm enjoying your blog - and of course, sharing our training "pain" and "joy." :)


p.s. I'm still trying to determine my Antarctica. I'll blog about it when I've figured it out.

TriGirl 40 said...

It really is true. With each experience of being able to persevere when you are uncomfortable, sore, swollen, disheartened, you gain strength - and a memory to draw from the next time you are uncomfortable, sore, swollen, disheartened.

Have fun in NY this weekend!