July 5th – WHWL (What Have We Learned?)

Today I was reminded of the importance of a good, sound mantra. Also….I was reminded of the crappy effects a BAD mantra can have on your day.

I started my day feeling rather chipper. I whistled as I walked to the gym to get my swim in. As I’m swimming, I’m repeating to myself “easy peasy lemon squeezy”. Yes – I know – I am a grown man and mantras like this make me sound like a 12 year old. However, I had just watched the movie “The Greatest Game Ever Played”, and the character that played Francis Oimet’s caddy said this a number of times. So it was quietly programmed into my dense cranium in the same way that a horrible Ratt song gets stuck in your head for full 24-hour periods after hearing it on the radio. (Go ahead / play the song Round and Round by Ratt just once – the damn thing won’t leave your head for a bit. It’s like the flu – just let me cough a few times, sneeze a bit, and get out of my system already).

But….I digress….

Anyway – “easy peasy lemon squeezy” was my mantra as I swam. And I felt strong. So that saying continued to play on as I hopped on my bike and began phase two of the day’s workout: 3 loops of Central Park. As I made my rounds along the heavily congested loop, I’ll be damned if the activity just simply felt easier than normal. I recited that silly little statement in my head each time I was faced with a hill. And each time, I was able to climb the hill without getting out of the saddle. So, being an extremely superstitious guy, I said this once more to myself as I dropped Maximus off in the basement of my building and ran upstairs to switch to my running gear.

Switching from the bike to running is tricky. It takes some getting used to, since your legs have been doing one type of strenuous motion repeatedly, making your quadriceps burn. Now you quickly transition to running, and it just feels weird. As I headed back to the park to put in a few miles without any electronics (running by feel), my legs let like bricks. I couldn’t sustain any positive momentum. And as I entered the park, my mantra switched suddenly from “easy peasy lemon squeezy” to “why do I feel crappy?”

Note to all runners reading this: “why do I feel crappy” is a fantastic mantra for anyone looking to experience a truly crappy run. Just a public service announcement….

I didn’t maintain a positive mantra. I allowed my body dictate the workout to my mind. This resulted in my mantra changing to something very negative, and it made my 4.5 miles feel like 10.

My coach always reminds me that “your legs remember the last thing they do”. Which is why I normally run a couple of short hard sprints after each run. It leaves me with an “I just kicked some everyday ass” kind of feeling. Well today, the last thing my legs did was slowly waddle my tired body home. I felt beat up. Not a way to wrap things up.

So: stay positive. Focus on positive things while you push yourself. And when you begin to feel tired, keep that positive mantra playing in your head like a horrible Ratt song……

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