Today's Mental Toughness Thursday blog is written by guest blogger and all around amazing woman, Kim Pribanic.
I went, I saw, I tried, I finished. I planned my race, and I raced my plan.
Correction. I didn’t race. Racing will come with other things. This was about finishing what I started, about living every moment as it came, and – as much as possible - relying only on myself, my instincts, and my training to see me through. Although there were fun moments, I would never describe the week as fun. It was brutal, needed, and immensely satisfying.
You know, the funny thing about starting this race, as compared to starting Gobi March in 2013, is that this time around I assumed that I’d be the last person to finish, and I was okay with that. In Gobi, I was determined NOT to be last. However, there I made poor decisions from the get go, and I paid for them almost instantly. Dropping out the first day of the race was a lousy feeling, and it’s haunted me for 6-1/2 years.
This time out, I had a plan and I stuck to it. I pre-taped my feet and changed my socks, and made sure to take a short rest and have something to eat when I felt my mental state taking a nose-dive. The challenges were more mental than physical (although God knows there were plenty of physical challenges). I had planned to walk, but I certainly felt like I could go faster. (All hail the inventor of the cortisone shot.) There were times when a little gremlin in my head said, “Oh, what the hell, just run the downhills”, but I fought that back. My goal was to finish, and to finish with a strong, healthy body and mind. The conditions were so hellish that eleven people had to drop out over the first three days. I did not want to be one of them.
The one comment I consistently heard was how strong I looked, even when I finished the long day, after 22 hours on my feet. I was exhausted, but I was in good condition, and relative to many others, I was strong. All of those deadlifts and squats helped protect my back, hips and feet, but so did the pull ups and push ups. Because my upper body was fairly strong and resilient, I could use it to help the rest of me, especially on rough descents and the hours spent in sandy, gritty dry river beds.
I have to say, though, that the mental toughness I’ve been developing at TSCF was the thing that served me best of all. I’ve learned to say to myself, “Well, this sucks, but it’s where I am at the moment, so I’d better deal with it”. When going through hell, keep going. Do not go gentle into that good night. Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.
I learned that it was best to just be where and when I was, and to not worry about how long the climb was, or how much further I had to go. I learned to trust my instincts, and to realize that sometimes taking a short break and getting re-centered was the best way to continue moving forward. I learned that I was just fine on my own, but that sometimes company was helpful, and that I didn’t have to fight it out on my own unless I felt like I wanted to. I learned that sometimes a smile is the best support you can get – and give.
Like the community at TSCF, I fell in with a crowd that just… well… gets it. I didn’t feel like I had to explain anything. My slow speed, my fueling strategy, my insistence on keeping my feet healthy? I did what worked for me, and no one made snide comments. We all picked our battles.
We’re capable of so much more than we think. Making the decision to try, and being willing to trust in ourselves, are the most difficult steps. Walking 250 kilometers is the easy part.
Record your WOD on Beyond the Whiteboard.
Do you need CrossFit or yoga gear? Click on the links below to buy through our Just Strong, Reebok, Rogue or Hylete Affiliate share sale programs. These are affiliate links and our gym will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on these links.
Check out our Flickr page!