Constantly Changing Consistently
Many conversations have been characterized by the restrictions and the alterations to life due to COVID-19. We have all been affected in some way. We have all been limited. This realization also reveals that since we ALL have been affected, we ALL have the universal opportunity to grow through this common thread of adversity.
As I looked ahead towards the summer months, and preparing for my first competition back from injury (almost a year without racing!), I was super stoked for the Leadville Trail Marathon at >10,000 ft. I was following my running program and my resistance training program (with Gertrude of course), and my foot was cooperating pretty well! My fitness and strength were on track, and I was feeling confident with my progress! One of my weekly training runs included hill repeats in Red Rocks Canyon Open Space near Colorado Springs. There is a gradual incline trail amidst the dusty canyon serpentine paths, about a mile in length.
Perfect for repeats.
I was preparing to increase my mileage on my repeats, according to my training plan.
One day, I was mentally preparing for the tough, hot, dry, and challenging workout in Red Rocks, when I was notified that my upcoming race was cancelled due to COVID safety precautions. The work that I was so disciplined to; the progress that I was making, and the tough workouts ahead could have been viewed as null, now that my competition was no longer validl. The decision to accomplish the tough hill workout on the schedule for the day however, was still valid.
There was no excuse for lack of execution.
I had a body that could still move and function; a mind that could decide to push through the discomfort of this new training stimulus. I knew this longer duration of effort and the heat of the day (2pm workout, no shade, Colorado sun beating mercilessly on me…) was going to be a constant challenge for the mind. My WHY for the training session changed; my choice to accomplish it or to allow an excuse to cloud my decision making was still in my hands.
The hill workout was accomplished. 16.5 miles, no water, no caloric intake. 88 degrees. Why? Just because I could. What excuse could I have justified to no complete the set? What could have rationalized the purpose behind backing down?
I did it, because I had the opportunity to push. Because I have the chance to fail, as well as the chance to succeed. I had the chance to increase my fitness, my mental resolve, my own motivations to become stronger. To practice my own sense of ownership. Every round up that hill, I was battling my own thoughts. “It’s hot, I am thirsty” …. “My foot is getting sore… or is it sore? Or am I just looking for a ‘reason’ to stop short of my training goal?”…”Gosh darn I am slow”…..”If I have to pass that rock one more time…”
My mind was challenged.
My body was challenged.
There was no longer a goal, a race, an event that I could say I was preparing for.
Yet. The value in pursuing what is hard, amidst disappointment, amidst struggle, amidst lack of certainly is always unchanged. We always have the opportunity to grow, and to change. Without change, we do not grow.
Without adversity, we are easily enticed to remain stagnant in our personal and professional lives.
Without discomfort, we grow soft.
As COVID-19 continues to change how we go about life and continue relationships, we have a beautiful and unique opportunity as a society. Instead of dreaming and wishing that things “return to normal”, I encourage you to embrace a different lens. We are all displaced from normal, which allows a platform of growth, to become better than the state that we were in prior to COVID-19.
As an athlete and a strength and conditioning professional, I still have the personal responsibility and choice of ownership to increase my fitness parameters. I still have the opportunity to increase professional development and coaching awareness. I still have the capacity to dive into current scientific evidence regarding fitness and physiology that I can utilize to serve my athletes once social contact is permitted.
We all have had a certain level of consistency in life until COVID.
We now all have a common thread of change.
We now all have a common opportunity to change, and to decide how we want to perceive the constant lack of routine due to this economic and social circumstance.
You can decide to constantly pursue consistency in your mindset, regardless of “circumstance”. We all have this common circumstance.
How will YOU decide to be constantly changing consistently?
Growth in the mind – attitude, toughness, resilience and grit, the pursuit of excellence – is all about perception. Your ability to control and manipulate your own perceptions can spur you own towards growth, or paralyze you in fear and uncertainty. The choice is yours. COVID-19 may be a harmful virus, but it has no power to decide your mindset.
Be an inspiration for those around you as YOU choose to ACT.
Let’s become BETTER due to COVID-19, instead of returning to ‘normal’.
Run up some dusty red sand and rock hills. Don’t forget sunscreen.