One brick at a time….

“You don’t try to build a wall. You don’t set out to build a wall. You don’t say I’m going to build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall that’s ever been built. You don’t start there. You say, I’m going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid. And you do that every single day, and soon you have a wall.”                                                                                                                                         -Will Smith, Hollywood’s Most Powerful Actor

Sidenote: If you recall from a previous post, I was supposed to begin my official training on June 1, with a 20 week program. Well, my first week ended up being a wash because I got food poisoning. Recovered, I was able to start the training this past Monday.

I thought about the quote above as I made my way through Monday’s workout. The quote and many other insightful words, videos, stories–pretty much anything else I could cling on to–were used to help push me through my session. Out of all the things I thought about, however, Smith’s words really represented the major takeaway for the day.

That day I was hit with an extra-strength dose of reality that I had not been hit with yet. As I made my way through my workout, it became very clear that whatever I was doing for the last three months should definitely not be considered “training”.  Monday’s schedule called for swimming and running. The lesson was understood after my swim workout.

I swam 2,350M (1.46 mi.). Even though it was broken up into various sections (warm up, main workout, cool down) and sets, it was still challenging.

Moreso than the physical, I found the mental aspect of the workout to be the most challenging. It was extremely tedious. On top of that, I was by myself-with no music. For those that know me well, know that mundane, routine activities and I do not go together AT ALL. I don’t know how to describe it other than mental torture. It’s not like I didn’t know mental discipline will be a significant factor in completing the race, but I guess it never hit me like it did on Monday. The torture didn’t start until I began the “main” part of the swim workout.

I first had a warm up of 6×100.  This means that I would do 6 sets of 100M swims. I swam in a pool that has a length of 25M. I believe the short length of the pool compounded my issues. 100M is the equivalent of swimming back and forth twice. Although I even found the warmup tedious,  the main workout had me shaking my head and just feeling angry. The main workout consisted of 4×400. That meant that each set consisted of swimming 16 lengths of the pool. SO annoying. During this main part of the workout, I was hit with multiple feelings/observations simultaneously that ended up just putting me in a bad mood. In no particular order, some of the negative thoughts were:

  • “Seriously? 16? 4 time? This is going to take forever
  • This is only the beginning of the training! It’s only going to get worse going forward
  • There is really no way for me to go, but to finish. If I cut corners today, I will cut corners tomorrow, and I will end up looking like one of the people in the “Till I Collapse” video I posted on the blog
  • I have soooo much training to do over these next five month
  • Thiiiiis sucks
  • I don’t even have music. I feed off of music. I need to get an IPOD for the water. I’m beginning to feel like Rain Man the way I’m talking to myself so much

There were many more, but I think you get the point. I eventually manned up though and pushed through after focusing on Will Smith’s quote. I remembered that what I was going through was PRECISELY the reason for me doing the Ironman. It would be a means to develop a stronger mind. The principle that was being emphasized that night was mental discipline. After calming myself, I distilled all of my thoughts into one objective-complete that day’s workout as best that I could. That’s all that mattered.

The Ironman represents the big wall that must be built with one perfectly laid brick at a time. That philosophy meant that I could not just aim to finish my workout. I had to focus on finishing the workout by applying the best swimming form possible.

I began this whole Ironman process with the end in mind. I know that I will finish. However, now recognizing that, I must never think about the end or the race again. I would be getting ahead of myself. My focus now is making sure that each day I am laying a perfectly laid brick. This means that I can’t cheat on my workout, diet, or rest. If I do, I will pay for it in the end. Again, life presents itself in my training. The most effective way to live life, is taking it one day at a time.

From this point on, don’t call me a triathlete; call me a bricklayer.

*My training schedules will be posted each wk. This week has already been posted.


~ by gblyden703 on June 9, 2010.

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