Breakthroughs without expectations

In the last couple of weeks, I have tapped into #SunnyMcGritty‘s energy. She has helped me have some breakthrough sessions! Ten days ago, I had a bike workout with a HUGE breakthrough! After a good warm-up, I was to ride 1 minute @120% FTP with 30 seconds @10% FTP and continue this until failure. I had done this workout a few times before, but always with expectations (“I want to get to 20 intervals before I reach failure,” or “I want to get to 25 intervals before I reach failure”). These expectations actually limited me. Once I achieved my expectation, I gave myself “permission” to back down and wouldn’t continue to really push to see just how far I could REALLY go. Thursday’s ride was different. I stayed present with each minute and focused only on that minute. Because I stayed present with each minute, after about 5 intervals, I lost track of how many intervals I had completed. This was probably the best thing that could have ever happened! From this point on I had no idea of how many intervals I had completed, so my only expectation was to give my best for the minute I was in. I didn’t give myself permission to back down…Sunny McGritty wouldn’t give herself permission to back down, so I wasn’t going to either! When I got to the 1 hour planned duration for this ride and was still doing intervals, I knew that I had surpassed previous stats for this ride. I hadn’t reached failure yet! I stayed present with each minute and pushed until my legs wouldn’t push any more. Breakthrough!

Head down giving it everything I have in this minute!

My 2nd breakthrough session was a week ago. After a 9+ mile run, I went to the pool to swim. I had zero expectations…after all, I was swimming after a long run. I had 5×100 as part of my main set with 2 minutes rest between each 100 to see just how far I could push myself. For comparison, my fastest 100 time ever is 1:31 and I’d only seen that once! On Saturday, my first 100 was 1:33. I was super happy with this since I knew I was swimming tired. My second 100 was 1:31 and so was my third! Boom! I was swimming as fast as my fastest 100 time AFTER my 9+ mile run! My fourth and fifth 100 times were 1:32. Hello breakthrough!

Soaring after a breakthrough swim session!

Sunny McGritty has helped me really fight to new levels and truly not back down. Sunny wouldn’t give herself permission to back down, so when I tap into Sunny’s personality, I don’t give myself permission to back down either!

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Sunny McGritty

Some of you have noticed “#SunnyMcGritty” added to some of my insta/FB/twitter posts and have asked, “Who is Sunny McGritty?!” Sunny is a character that I made up to impersonate in training during tough sessions and on race day…she is my alter ego. If Clark Kent had Superman as his alter ego, why can’t I have an alter ego?!

Sunny is a long-distance triathlete who is not graceful or pretty, but she is a strong muppet FULL of grit, determination, and perseverance. She thrives in tough conditions, is fierce, and will out-suffer anyone to overcome adversity + challenges in her path. She gets knocked down 9 times, but stands up 10! She embraces courage over comfort, always believes in herself, and when discomfort strikes asks, “Is that all you’ve got?! How bad do you want it?!” She always has a smile on her face, gives out high-fives, and always encourages others!

Sunny McGritty

So where did this idea of creating an alter ego come from?! The Brave Athlete Calm the F*ck Down and Rise to the Occasion by Simon Marshall, PhD and Lesley Paterson is FULL of amazing “tools to overcome negative patterns of thinking and feeling so you can be faster + happier in sport and life.” This is definitely a MUST READ for everyone! I highly recommend you make up your own alter ego to help you push though challenges you face in life or sport! Sunny McGritty has helped me become a better athlete and person! What can an alter ego do for you?!

Do you have an alter ego?! If so, who is your character?! What qualities does your character have?! If not, what qualities would your character have if you were to create an alter ego?!