The last 6 weeks, I’ve been immersed in a bike block, which has required a LOT of mental strength and fortitude. During this block, Coach Kelly has also immersed me in a mind power block. The focus of the last 6 weeks…to make me #trackcatstrong both physically and mentally this season! I had a homework assignment every day. While I didn’t provide all of the homework assignments I completed, I have laid out the basics of 16 assignments and my responses to these assignments. I feel these 16 assignments were key to helping me build my mind power over the last 6 weeks. I didn’t give you all the details…if I would have, this post would have been 10x longer than it currently is! YIKES!
Step 1: What is your vision?
**My vision is to stand on stage at the Ironman award ceremony holding my IM trophy above my head next to other amazing women in my age group with a HUGE smile on my face!
If there were no limits and nothing to lose, what would your vision look like?
**Standing on the podium at Kona among the best of the best women in my age group
Step 2: What 3 goals or motivating statements can you come up with near term that will put you closer to that vision of success?
**I will focus on courage over comfort…pushing myself to reach WAY out of my comfort zone with every workout (sometimes staying in Z2 is uncomfortable when I want to go hard…so following the plan and really stretching my comfort zone with every workout).
**I will work hard to push self doubt out of my mind before every workout & trust that I can…I WILL!
**I will work hard to focus on the present, not the future, to help me achieve my dreams.
**I will replace negative thoughts with positive ones before and during workouts!
Step 3: What is your vision image?
Step 4: What is your vision quote?
This was my original quote:
“Nobody succeeds beyond his or her wildest expectations unless he or she begins with some wild expectations.” ~ Ralph Charell
This has changed over the 6 week time period. I found a quote that aligns much more with the “No Speed Limit” idea…
“A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.” ~John A. Shedd
Step 5: Find a food that connects you to your vision.
Step 6: What is one POSITIVE word that describes how your vision makes you feel?
Step 7: What is one habit that you formed as a result of defining your vision?
I have done a great job of working to erase self-doubt before my workout and changing the mental channel during my workouts when my thoughts go negative!
Step 8: Who is a role model who has or can further inspire or cultivate your vision? This can be a famous person or a friend.
I want to pick Chrissie Wellington, but she is no longer racing. I want to have a strong role model who is still actively participating in the sport. Chrissie always inspired me because she started at ground zero with her training and equipment and made it to the top.
Since Chrissie is no longer racing, my vision role model is Becca. She is an age group athlete trying to qualify for Kona and working hard to achieve her dreams. She inspires me to keep pursuing my dreams with every workout.
Step 9: What are you grateful for currently with respect to training? Who are the people who support you in the journey?
1. I am currently grateful to have a slew of people who support me in my journey…Tim, Coach Kelly, my parents, Tonja (my sole sister), my Coeur teammates, my sisters, my nieces, friends (both in person and on social media) the list goes on and on!
2. I am grateful that my body allows me to push it to new levels physically + mentally.
3. I am grateful for my new FTP numbers on the bike (this was before my 16 watt improvement).
4. I am grateful for having my summers off so I can train and enjoy focusing only on my hobby.
5. I am grateful for struggles as I have learned and grown from each of those struggles as I’ve overcome them.
Step 10: List 3 traits help you to be successful in this sport through racing and/or training. List 3 skills/abilities that are your strongest, well developed and/or that you have confidence in.
1. I am passionate about everything swim + bike + run
2. I am disciplined + determined
3. I am resilient
1. I often have the ability to pull myself out of a negative mental slump and change the channel so that it is positive and focused.
2. I am a hard worker and willing to push myself out of my comfort zone to achieve the next level.
3. I am a problem solver, so when I am faced with an obstacle, I immediately start trying to find a solution to overcome the obstacle in my path.
Step 11: Ask a trusted individual what they believe your strengths are. This should be someone who has known you for a while or who knows your athletic history well. It could be a friend, co-worker, mentor, coach etc.
I asked my sole sister for her thoughts on my strengths. Here is her response:
“Your strengths are numerous!! 🙂
1. You are resilient. When you face a difficult challenge, I feel you approach it from multiple angles before you make a decision. You continue to persevere even in adversity.
2. You are mentally strong. Even when your body may want to give out, you push yourself to continue on, using brain power over physical exhaustion.
3. You are loyal. You can overlook faults and poor decisions and still stand by those who need it most.
4. You are fierce. You will fight for what it is you believe to be fair and necessary. Many may see your straightforwardness as a weakness, but I see it as a strength for you go to those who need it and support them.
5. You are physically tough. Your training and dedication to that have given you arms and legs of which I am envious. 🙂
6. You are intelligent…this to me means that you want to gain more knowledge and learn more, which is different than smart. Smart can just be informed in some area, but you are intelligent in that you realize how areas connect together. And I feel like you are inquisitive to develop a deeper understanding.”
Step 12: What is your definition of “Fun” in the sport?
When someone tells you to “have fun” what does that look like to you inside and outside of the sport?
**When I have fun, I am doing what I love/what lights my fire and makes me truly happy. I smile/laugh a lot, I’m content, I’m with people who lift me up, I feel light as a feather.
What do you “like” best about the sport?
**I love how I feel when I cross the finish line setting a new PR or overcoming challenges along the way.
Why were you drawn to triathlon in the first place and what keeps you coming back to it?
**As a kid, I swam/biked/ran around everyday. I actually learned how to swim before I learned how to walk. I grew up on Lake Okoboji, so I swam everyday all summer long as a kid. I rode my bike and ran everywhere. I was drawn to triathlon because it reminds me of being a kid and having lots of fun!
What are your best memories when you felt yourself enjoying the sport over your time in it?
**The Chisago Lakes 1/2 Ironman…I overcame SO many obstacles (stung by a bee before the swim, left all my nutrition at the hotel, I couldn’t get my bike cadence/speed sensors to work in transition (but they did work on the bike…don’t know how that happened), my goggles kept fogging over in the swim and I couldn’t see the buoys as it was already a really foggy morning, it was a hot + humid day and the course ran out of water on the bike route, I had a flat tire on the bike that I had to change, I forgot my Garmin on the bike and had no idea of where I was for pacing on the run) during that race and still managed to PR!
**I love racing where my family comes to cheer me on! The Okoboji triathlon is one of my favorites to have family around! I also LOVED racing Ironman Boulder with all of my family around cheering me on…SO MUCH FUN!!
Do you have a favorite thing to do in sport?
**I think my favorite thing is to push myself and see what I can accomplish…what obstacles can I overcome? What limits can I push farther away? I have yet to do this in a race…I think I’m letting my fear of a DNF hold me back.
What races are your favorite and why?
**I love the Okoboji triathlon as my family is usually there and come out to cheer us on. It is also fun to get to go hard and have fun when I’m usually Ironman training.
**I love the Ironman distance. It is challenging (and I love a good challenge) + I love crossing the finish line knowing I just accomplished something that was once impossible. It is way more fun when there are family + friends out on the course cheering me on too!
Step 13: What mini victories have you achieved this block of training? List 3 below. Why are these victories? How do they make you feel?
1. My 10K race time with hills + tired legs a couple of weeks made me super happy! Placing 3rd was icing on the cake!
2. Finally having a swim that was pretty even paced throughout each interval was super awesome! As you know, I struggle with pacing, so finding consistency is huge!
3. Thursday’s bike ride was a huge confidence booster! Hitting and holding 412 watts…even for 15 seconds is HUGE for me! Super happy!!
Step 14: Physically, what do you find has been outside your comfort zone in the past few weeks? How did you manage it? Mentally, what has been outside your comfort zone recently? How did you overcome and manage it?
Physically outside of my comfort zone…
I have actually been doing this a lot lately on the bike. Last Thursday when I held 412 watts for 15 seconds, it was awful + amazing at the same time! I was so far out of my comfort zone, that it made me want to cry and smile at the same time!
Mentally outside of my comfort zone…
During these tough bike intervals, I’ve had to remind myself that I need to stay mentally focused. This isn’t always easy when my legs are SCREAMING at me! 😉 Key words and phrases as well as mental visualization have been helping me with this!
Step 15: What are a few mantras you can use during the next power test, hard session or race to motivate you?
**I have my “believe” tattoo on my forearm
**TRJ (these are the initials of one of my 8th grade students who was killed a few years ago riding his bike while training for a draft legal triathlon…he always wanted to do “one more” hill repeat, sprint on the bike, or sprint lap in the pool)
**Courage over comfort
**Make it happen!
Step 16: Incorporate an item or image that will motivate you into your training space.
Step 17: Every single workout write down 3 things that went well, that your learned or that builds confidence. 3 positive things. Do this every day for at least a week.
I feel as though these 16 mind power assignments were a HUGE asset and a KEY to my success on increasing my FTP by 16 watts over this 6 week time period! They helped boost my confidence and gave me focus to help me achieve my physical goals!
Have you focused on mental training for a block of time? If not, why not? If so, how did it help you?