I know what you’re thinking. What is Mike doing to launch “Mental Health Week” in Ironman training? Let me tell you, that is a great question with some titillating answers.
For one, I’m going to rest. I’ll likely get in the pool a couple times for light swims and run on Wednesday with the East Nasty crew, but for the most part, I’m taking pressure off my legs. I can feel a subtle “tiredness” lurking and it will be great to get a little spring back.
THE WORLD’S WORST CHEF
I’ll also be tweaking my diet. Over the past couple months I have been working out around two hours a day and consequently eating everything that flies by my face. I kinda think I know what it feels like to be my dog. I mean, if there’s fuel to be had, I am consuming it to the point where I’m licking pasta sauce off my plate like a little kid, then following up with a major pickle binge. Nothing is off limits, including the snack bar at work, and this week, I hope to zero in on a more nutrient packed philosophy that doesn’t include time-crunched sell-out trips to Wendy’s.
NO HAPPY ENDINGS
Seems to me a mental health week wouldn’t be complete unless you dropped a massage or two in the middle. I should really practice what I preach and get this body rubbed at least twice a month. There’s no doubt the foam roller works wonders, but human hands can turn these muscles into pliable jelly that responds like a new born baby’s skin. And I’m not really sure what that means, but think you get the point.
STRIKE A POSE
Along that lines, I will certainly be cracking open my yoga books again. I can sense a lack of flexibility creeping into my body and I am not really cool with this new trend. Yoga has always lived on the periphery of my life, but it needs to be more of a center piece and peace of my center.
FUELED BY BARLEY
I will also likely drink a ton of beer. Nah . . . that’s unlikely, but I will encourage some of my teammates to pound them like fish at the East Nashville Beer festival this Saturday, which is the day before our first Sprint Tri of the year on Sunday. And yes, I do realize this could come back to haunt me do to the “body numb factor” and fearless racing behavior that tends to shine the morning after a bunch of beers. This is especially true when mileage or heat isn’t a big concern. In other words, I am not going to let them use beer fest as a crutch, in fact, I think it gives them an advantage!
MORE BUKOWSKI THAN BURROUGHS
I’ll also do a lot of writing. I’ve known for years that you can write something into reality if you focus on it long enough. I’ve written my goals down for years, then will spend time “soul searching” in journals to figure out how I am going to bring those targets into fruition. It’s amazing, but eventually an answer will surface and suddenly you “understand.” And isn’t that the key to eliminating fear and confusion?
MOVE TOWARD STILLNESS
Meditation can also help. Nothing like shutting off the noise to help you cut through the clutter of life. I know one thing for certain. If I’m sitting at the start line and I’m worried about any number of stupid things that will pop into my head, I am not at my best. There is simply no room for distraction in a race. I mean, sure, you can say hi and talk or whatever, but I find it much more productive if you’re focused. Or, as my coach likes to say, “Hurry slowly.” These kinds of mindsets are easier when you consistently practice meditation and a calm mind.
SEE IT, BELIEVE IT
I will visualize myself in these races. I will “see” myself breaking through new time barriers in my mind. Speed happens naturally, but it can be enhanced if you believe you can move your body at certain paces. It’s like running with faster runners, but you don’t really have to run with them, because some of them can be dicks and this way you just run along with them while you lay on the coach. Frankly, it’s easier, and some of those fast runners just don’t really like talking to me about all this nonsense, so it’s a win/win.
If you’re having trouble with the “visualization process” you may want to look at this video I made to help drummers stay focused and in the groove.
BE A GOOD PERSON
And lastly, I will be connecting with friends. I actually try to listen to what they’re saying instead of being preoccupied with the infamous Monogetti run lingering over my work day. I may actually stroll along a babbling brook or take my dog for more walks instead of letting her loose at the dog park. I may actually buy presents for people in my life. Sweet gifts like writing journals and running socks. Even take them out to dinner at I Dream of Weenie or the Turnip Truck.
Then again, I don’t want to get carried away, I mean it’s only one week.