Since I’ve started this speed skating thing, there pretty much hasn’t been a day when I’m not in some sort of pain. I’m getting used to waking up in the morning and feeling the tightness in my legs as I swing them over the side of the bed or bringing my coffee to my face and suddenly remember that the day before I did butterfly presses.
It hurts when I’m in the midst of training too. I wish I could tell you I always fight through the pain but I’d be lying – there have been days I’ve just given up *throws hands in air*. Not because physically I couldn’t keep going, it was the mental fight I lost. When that voice in my head that says I can’t do this, wins. Who do you think you are that you could possibly speed skate? That you could ever be good at this. You’re a 41 year old mom with pigeon-toes and pronating feet. You can’t even stand up straight on your skates.
Slowly, those times are getting fewer and farther between – I’ve started talking back.
Screw you, I say to the negative voice preying on my insecurities. I don’t have to be good, I just have to be.
I’ve started using visualization to help me work through the pain of weights or the number of minutes I have left in a run. The timer was turning into my nemesis, the numbers defeating me instead of spurring me on. Knowing I still had a minute left in my fast run made me want to stop, not continue. Now instead of watching the clock, I visualize myself doing the perfect speed skating start and getting ahead of the pack right at the beginning.
Because, you know, if I get to the head of the pack, there’s less chance someone will crash into me.
I picture perfect crossovers, or taking a trapeze class, or competing in a speed skating race – and yes, people are cheering for me when I cross the finish line in first place. I’ve also won an Oscar and been on The Ellen DeGeneres Show – anything to distract my eyes from the time.
But mostly I’ve learned to find strength in the pain. When I’ve finished running to the top of a hill and am walking off the feeling of wanting to vomit, when I can’t sit because my angry hamstrings have staged a coup, when I have that one. last. pushup. to. do. and I think I can’t do it, I accept that this is part of the process and let it go.
Because that pain is just the weakness leaving my body.
And that voice in my head? She’s just going to have to learn the more she talks, the harder I’ll work.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some tylenol to take.