Mental Strength Conditioning
I have good news: my kidney infection is just about cleared out! I spent the afternoon at the doctors office having some exams and tests done. The positive is that the antibiotics are working just fine and my kidney infection is just about over. However, I still have some stuff going on that they can’t quite explain. I should get some test results back in the next few days and we’ll be able to see whats going on. Its nothing major – its not like I’m waiting to hear back if I have cancer or anything like that – just some girly stuff, hormone stuff that has been giving me all kinds of trouble.
After being poked and prodded for a couple hours, I knew I wanted to treat myself my family to an extra nice dinner. I made Dill Salmon, which is one of my favorite salmon recipes, and paired it with roasted green beans and shrimp cocktails. I don’t know about you but whenever I make seafood, I feel like we’re super fancy – especially now that we live in Utah and good seafood is hard to come by (trust me, this filet I managed to find nothing to brag about – IF YOU LIVE IN UTAH, might I recommend that you pick up your seafood from Harmon’s – I wasn’t near one of their stores and had a hard time finding any salmon, let alone decent salmon). That being said, our meal was still very good.
To make this salmon: simply place the salmon filet on a piece of foil, sprinkle with black pepper, fresh cut dill, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Wrap and bake for 25-30 min on 350 – until fish is flaky but not dry.
I also prepared the green beans in foil just so I could use the same pan and make clean up a little easier. I added a teaspoon of olive oil and two chopped cloves of garlic – wrapped and baked alongside the salmon.
Talk about super easy!
We decided to go out for a leisurely post-dinner family workout. Nick took the boys in the double jogger to run, while I rode my bike.
I’m pretty sure Nick’s work out was anything but leisurely since our neighborhood is full of hills and he had all the weight to push but my bike ride was fairly easy and was a great “let’s see how we feel about this” kind of a ride. I’m not supposed to be pushing it too hard with the exercise thing until my kidney infection is completely gone. I felt good though, so why not?
We paused at the top of one of our hills to enjoy the view as the sun started to disappear behind the mountains.
As I was riding up and down the hills, I realized that I have really improved my riding skills even in just a few rides. I used to hate the hills and dread them from the moment I left our driveway. Of course, I love the “whee” celebration I get to have on all of the downhills but I absolutely hated that upward push. And I was terrible at hills – slow, breathing all over the place, not maintaining a straight line. I have forced myself to continue going up these hills even when I’ve wanted to get off my bike and walk. (I should mention the hills in our neighborhood are monsters – there is nearly 1,000 foot change in elevation between our house and the main road.) Anyway, my point is this – I’m getting better! I’m starting to actually enjoy the hills because I can really feel my legs working hard, the blooding pumping and once I crest that hill I get this immense feeling of accomplishment. Every hill is a victory.
Last week, I saw an ad in a magazine for “mental strength conditioning.” The ad was for Griffin Hill and here is their sales pitch:
“Before the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Heather McPhie was ranked #27 in the world. Then she met Dr. Craig Manning, Griffin Hill Mental Strength Coach. Six months and 25 sessions later, Heather was #2 in the world and on her way to the games.”
I was intrigued because even though I grew up knowing all about the “power of positivie thinking,” I had never heard of mental strength conditioning or coaching. I checked out Griffen Hill’s website and it doesn’t give away too much info about the “how” or principles behind their practice. So I instead turned to the internet for some answers. Turns out the gist of this is something along the lines of improved self confidence, clarity of thought, harnessing stress and anxiety, relaxed concentration – all of which come together to help you overcome plateaus and deal with the twists and turns that become game changers.
Most everything in fitness is a mind game. Every time I see those hills coming, my mind starts complaining “great, this is gonna suck.” If you have ever gone for a run, you know that your mind will tell you that you are “done” long before your body will. Another great example of this is the contestants on The Biggest Loser. Almost all of them end up having some sort of psychological reason behind their weight gain and once they can shatter those thoughts, the pounds really start dropping.
And even though I know that its all a mind game, I still hear myself say things sometimes like “I’m not a good runner” “I’ll never be able to do the big hills” or “I can’t go that fast.” Why do I do that? I mean certainly, I’m no outstanding runner today. But why can’t I be? Why can’t I go that fast? Why can’t I bike those mountain passes?
I think getting out and putting in the work on the pavement is really only half the battle – getting my mind to join me is the other half. Getting my thoughts to line up with my intentions.
I am becoming a good runner. I am getting faster. I have an opportunity for greatness.
These are the mantras I should be running to/ biking to/ swimming to. These are the thoughts I should hear in my pulse. Let the mental strength conditioning begin!
What do you hear in your pulse? Is your inner voice defeated or building you up? What will your new mantra be?