A pilgrimage to the inner demons.
I've finally finished the 300 miles in 30days running challenge. The last two weeks ended up being a complete mental battle with myself. The running became more manageable, which I wasn't expecting because I would have zero rest days throughout the entire duration.
By the way, no days off attitude is not conducive to maximum performance. And I know this. The very reason I decided to go no days off was that this wasn't about performance whatsoever. It was a pleasant surprise that the running seemed to improve in the end two weeks. The challenge was always about building and developing mental fortitude, so I needed it to break me down. I needed it to be something I didn't enjoy doing. I wanted to test my will to continue when the overtraining symptoms kicked in.
Symptoms of overtraining are "multisystem" and can affect your hormones, immune system, muscles and joints, nervous system and brain. Overtraining syndrome might first present as fatigue and progress to mood issues or injury, and some symptoms, like headaches, may come and go. But something that's important to know is your body always seeks homeostasis, so when you pile on the stress, it will do everything in its power to force to you stop so it can rest and recover. Hence why, its affects motivation and mood so significantly.
If you're experiencing any of those symptoms, it's much better to rest from a health and performance perspective. But if you're trying to find out how mentally tough you are, you're probably on track.
This is why I didn't do it for charity and why there weren't any prizes for doing it. I didn't want any external motivators to get it done. I wanted to be alone with the demons to see who was really in control.
So it was designed as a pilgrimage going in search of the inner demons. A journey into ones own mind to see what lurks beneath the surface. And I found them after 180 gruelling miles, my penance was paid, and I finally got my appointment.
The subsequent day lack of motivation hits like a runaway locomotive. All the passion you had disappeared like it never existed. Energy levels plummet to new lows. The mood feels like an anvil pushed out the open door or an apache helicopter hovering at 10,000 feet.
Should I carry on? I thought I still had a business to run, clients who expected me to show up with passion and energy?. But now, instead of rolling out of bed looking forward to the day, I'd just lay there for 20-30 mins, not wanting to move. Before every run, I'd sit there and procrastinate, knowing it wasn't helping at all, but my body was in pain... I had to forcefully pick myself up before every session and get my shit together. I started to say this will affect your work; you should stop now; it's not worth it.
One evening I only had 4km to go to hit the days distance. It was the distance from the gym to home; it usually takes me 20mins at a slow pace, so it's not exactly a hard run. But I didn't want to do it. I sat on the bench in the gym for 90mins scrolling Instagram, refreshing emails every few minutes, procrastinating.
I was slowly talking myself out of it. It was stupid and pointless; why was I doing it?
Then I remembered I was doing it to push me out of my comfort zone, which they say requires being somewhat uncomfortable, and I can confirm the comfort had long gone to be replaced with pain and fatigue. I wanted to see I'd give up when the going got tough.
Everything that happens is either endurable or not. If it's endurable, then endure it. Stop complaining. If it's unendurable… then stop complaining. Your destruction will mean its end as well. Just remember: you can endure anything your mind can make endurable.
I realised that I had finally reached what I was looking for at this point. The inner demons started to rear their ugly heads. Interestingly the Demons we face are so much more insidious than we realise. They aren't loud and obvious. It's subtle. So subtle that it seemingly passes unknown and spreads like wildfire. They take the form of self-doubt, lack of passion or motivation. They don't hit you like a sledgehammer. They wear you down like water on a stone. It's more of a leave it until later....... are you sure you can finish this? Do it tomorrow, jump on that Zipp scooter nobody would know.
Now im pleased to say that I pushed through. I remembered a quote from the book man's search for meaning "Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. Our response lies our growth and our freedom." - Viktor E. Frankl. No matter how beat down I got, I always had to power to choose. I could decide to lace those shoes up or leave them in the cupboard. So I just made the simple decision to lace the shoes up each day. I say simple decision because putting your shoes on isn't that hard when you break it down. Opening the door isn't hard. The big challenge was mentally easier when broken down into a series of small decisions.
I love reading, especially books like man's search for meaning, but it was nice to undergo a hard winters training to understand more about the things they talk about. I recommend that everyone regularly undergoes a hard winters training. This is an exciting concept that the stoics encouraged. Purposely place yourself in uncomfortable situations to grow and prepare for the future.
Now time to prepare for the Inver stone!