Endurance Sports Mentality

DSC_0063.JPGKonbanwa! (Good evening in Japanese)

A quick over view of my training, then to the good stuff of why I am writing this post. Lately I have attended a Profession Military Education course to ensure I am trained enough for the next rank. At this course is mostly different running drills, ranging from long runs to formations to high intensity sprints. Courses in the military use running to induce stress upon the students, After a while anaerobic exercises wear down the body and mind faster than regular aerobic exercises. The anaerobic state is where humans grow physically and mentally, which I will talk about the mental portion later. I have also been fortunate enough to make it to pool on base to perfect my freestyle and breast stroke technique for the Ironman triathlons.

Now to my observations and opinions about endurance sports. To be fair I have gone back and forth between gym rat to endurance nerd, I have observed both sides of the spectrum. I will still continue strength training because I believe in an overall fitness approach. I get asked all the time “Why do you run/bike/swim/hike so far?” “Do you actually enjoy it?” then I get statements like “I could never do that” “Cardio sucks I hate it” “It hurts though” maybe a couple others along those lines. Well for those who ask I enjoy endurance activities and my reasoning I do it varies from personal goals, time to think, overall health, and so I can eat what I want (to a degree).

Working towards a personal goal keeps life interesting and the motivation flowing. Most marathon runners don’t start off at 26.2 miles but start small with 5k’s and work towards an overall goal. With each step in the ladder comes a greater dedication of time and effort. With increased distance/effort comes a greater risk of injury and burn out. In return for a greater personal satisfaction. The burnout and negative mentality is what can destroy someones personal goals in all sports but I have observed it most in endurance events.

Running is greatly psychological from beginning to end. (I will bring up running the most due to being the most common endurance activity) Mentally preparing yourself for something that you know will hurt takes a strong mindset, if you are running and you don’t hurt then you are not physically or mentally growing (don’t run through injuries though) I am talking about lungs burning, muscles on fire, almost to the point of lightheaded. This is how you will become fast and be able to go longer. But this is where endurance sports separate themselves from all others. You aren’t preparing for intense pain for a couple seconds to maybe a minute but instead working towards an event that could last for a half hour up to days and weeks. This is where that mental toughness comes in to say “yeah I am sore but I can do more, go faster, go further”.

The “suck” is not limited to you personally, it can also come from environmental factors. The heat, cold, wind, sun, rain, hills, scenery, and terrain conditions all play into the mentality of an endurance athlete. A 60 mile bike ride will be different every time you ride and where you ride. I remember in Yuma, Az I could crush it on the flat lands but as soon as I went to race in California I got destroyed on the hills even though the distance was the same. Personally I think windy bike rides are the worst, you are slow on areas you should be fast but unlike hills there is no downhill to recover on. I have dig deep into my mind and tell myself this wind sucks now but it will only make me more comfortable in different situations. This is why special operations, military, firefighters, and police officers deeply care more about how you perform during endurance activities than any other.

Endurance sports give you time to think, and when I say time to think I mean A LOT of time to think. This is where the whole endurance sport athlete boils down to and determines who can make it. Personally I have benefited my mental while out running or cycling, I have used good thought provoking techniques to solve my problems. Ultimately I have discovered who I am. While out there on the road it is easy to get caught into a negative thought process and question why you are doing this. Thoughts like “This sucks”, “I’m tired/hot/cold/hungry”, “Why do I do this?” are all far too common. Even boredom gets to people while training day after day, week after week. But from what I have read up on is boredom can actually be good! When bored we tend to think deeper, problem solve, and have a more creative mindset. In today’s times we are constantly distracted by cell phones, television, video games, and social media that we don’t allow for ourselves to get bored. I believe this is the reason why we as society have so much anxiety and depression built up, we are never truly able to think it through or solve our problems. When running/biking/swimming we are doing a very repetitive task that does not take much brain power at all (if training, actually competitions our mind needs to be there) so why not let your thoughts drift, solve some problems you are facing, or think of creative ways to plan for the future.

In closing I would like to say endurance sports offer you the chance to spend time outdoors. Natural sunlight and fresh oxygen are the two elements the body and mind crave that we don’t get enough of now days. Planning different routes and events breaks up the monotony of work, gym sessions, and life. You taking in more on a bicycle than you do in car, and you take in more during running than you do on a bicycle.

First day back in the pool!

After months of not being in water except for showering, I finally made it to the pool on base. Luckily the pool is heated and Okinawa doesn’t get below 60 degrees. Swimming will be a struggle for this triathlon as it is my weakest event and it is very technical to be a good swimmer. A 30 minute swim session left me extremely sore the next day, ontop of hitting up the boxing gym. I cannot believe I am on training day 20 already! 135 to go!

Stairway to Heaven Day 15

Suckered my friend into bicycling to the Stairway to Heaven here in Okinawa. After a little confusing from Google Maps taking us down wrong roads and not the best directions from a source my friend had, we made it to the Stairway to Heaven! There were a couple added hills we rode up while looking for the stair step but all in good training.

The hill will be easy to incorporate into the days I have to bike and run, this steepness will condition the legs and lungs faster than regular flat ground running. Sprints will work in the same manner to strengthen and condition.

By the way the sports drink I had on my ride today was absolutely terrible by itself. Next time if I do have to use I will mix it with fruit juice or Gatorade.

 

Boxing Session Day 13

Tonight I decided to get back into the boxing gym and literally hit it hard! Afterwards we went out for a dinner with a friend that is leaving on Saturday. We tried raw chicken from the restaurant and it was surprising good with a little soy sauce.

Lifestyle Post

I was fortunate enough to go home for 10 days to see my wife, parents, sister, in-laws, and friends. It was not nearly long enough but it was a much needed trip. There is nothing like coming home to that kind of support I have, also spending time with my two dogs gives a huge positive emotional boost. Watching two dogs play has to be the most sincere pleasure.

This is supposed to be a multi dynamic blog and I have really just focus on adventure. Well today I want to share some lifestyle updates I am changing up. This is not some of that new year new me BS people usually post. Most of this has come from months in the planning making. The topic will I want to cover is a post I wrote before Christmas but wanted to wait until after the holiday season to share it for obvious reasons. This posting will be apart of a series of reflection and lifestyle posts.

Journey in my mind, thoughts, and beliefs

Written December 14, 2017

“After 105 days of restriction I am finally able to feel like myself again! The time I once thought to be a negative aspect on my life turned out to be a positive. This experience taught me a lot on who I am as person. As you might have seen from the blog, I enjoy freedom to go and experience adventures. This experience gave me the time to clear my head and unwind on stress. In August, I was caught up in mishap that lead me to being restricted to only base and work. The restriction was a dampener to my personal instincts; by nature I am a curious human being who thrives off the sense of adventure. Taking this away forced me to take on my depression and suicidal thoughts head on. I struggled for weeks trying to make sense as to why I was on restriction, why I stayed in a career that had that power over me, and how it personally affected me deep down. I was able to harness this emotion and figure out my goals, values, and morals. I will create a miniseries that examines each topic and how I used negative emotion to give me new drive. The miniseries will also include the constant battle with depression and suicidal thoughts. Hopefully this helps others who have hard time dealing with emotions and expressing themselves.”

 

With this being said somethings I will be changing up are my diet and exercise habits, friendships, and education/business.

I have waiting till I got back to Okinawa before testing out the paleo diet. I have researched not only the physical benefits of a good diet but how it affects people mentally. Throughout this I will document weight, strength, cardio, energy, and mentally how I am feeling. I have always been extremely physically fit but this past year since moving to Okinawa I have noticed myself starting to slack, I want to get back to that level I was a couple years ago where I was doing a cardio and a strength workout a day.

Friendships is a huge part of my life, I feel just as comfortable solo but meeting new people and learning their adventures and experiences is fascinating to me. There is something in hanging out with someone who gets you and has the same success goals as you. This is why I am going to start cutting out negatively draining people from my daily. This doesn’t mean I won’t help you or say hi but I need to focus on what is best for me and my family.

Lastly I have 22 months left in the Military then I am done for good so it is time to get my hustle on and get my education and business ideas in order. I recently started going back to college but that is not my only means of education. I have probably read more books in the past couple months than I have my entire life. Majority of these books have been on business and finances but an interesting one I have start is the “The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living: A Guide to ACT”. This book has actually inspired me to open up on what is going on in my own mind. The business side of my life is to continue working on Drunken Wanderlust and to design some outdoors apparel soon. I will also continue to bring the raw unedited photography to the blog.

Choosing the cover picture because Cain has a wild side to him but he is extremely loyal to my wife and I. (Emily won’t admit it but he is a daddy’s boy)

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