Now that the 2018 Win4Youth Ambassadors have completed boot camp, gone back to their homes and started their training programs, I’d like to share my thoughts on a part of the emotional journey ahead. During boot camp and then on social media, we’ve established some fantastic relationships with people across the world.
Speaking from experience as an older participant, the greatest new relationship is one that will stay with you for life – the relationship you are developing with your body. This relationship will stand you in good stead forever and has the potential to change everything in your future.
Everyone has a mind (80% of what will get the ambassadors over the line at Lanzarote) and a body (20% of the task). It’s like a jockey and a race horse. In a horse race, the jockey does the thinking, the planning and the preparation while the horse provides the brawn, but it’s a team – A jockey won’t jump off his horse and run across the line and when a horse loses his rider, even if he crosses the line first, he still doesn’t get the prize.
During training for a pinnacle event like the Lanzarote triathlon, the mind must create a new relationship with the body. Certainly, the horse who has been out to pasture too long has the most to gain in the relationship, but even the fittest horse can’t stop in preparing for the race.
Here are two tricks that my jockey (mind) uses to get my horse (body) to respond and obey, and do all sorts of things that I never thought my horse could do.
Be kind to your body:
Your body may have never been presented with challenges like the one in front of it. It’s going to ache, it’s going to be sore and it’s going to be tired, but you will soon learn what is acceptable pain and what should cause alarm bells. You would never consider pushing a horse so hard that it breaks down, that’s cruelty, so don’t do it to your body. Always rest when your program says to rest and if something continues to hurt day after day or reaches a level you can’t ignore, contact your coach. Like a good race horse trainer, they know alternative exercises to rest the sore parts or they might suggest you put yourself out onto a green field for a day or two.
Be firm with your body:
You know what I mean! There will be those mornings when the alarm goes off, the weather’s bad, the baby had you up three times in the night and getting out to exercise is the very last thing you want to do. This is when the jockey must take over and use the mental powers which the horse lacks, to get out there and do what you have to do. With me, getting out of bed is non-negotiable, I put two feet on the ground and stand up, then, think about what’s ahead. Visualize the feeling after exercise and allow that to counter the desire to crawl back into bed. After exercise, I know I will feel well stretched and pleasantly tired when I walk into the office and, yes, I must admit to a level of pride when my colleagues remark that they don’t know how I do it.
Before long, your mind and your body will have established a whole new relationship:
Your body will feel different; stretched, probably tired, and sometimes a bit sore, but trained correctly that soreness will pass, and the stretched/tired feeling will become your idea of feeling great. Then, one day, you might catch a glimpse of your reflection in a window, or try on some new clothes in front of a mirror and your response will be “Wow, what’s happened to my body?” That’s when you’ll realise that hanging in during the hard times was worth every minute and the new relationship will have turned into love and respect.
Short bio of Glenda:
I was always active, but not sporty, then in my 40’s realised that I was getting a bit, well, let’s face it, fat! So, at 43 I took up jogging, which turned into the occasional fun run and eventually into a very slow half marathon. At 49 I took up swimming and managed just 25 metres on my first attempt but increased that by another 25 metres each time I went to the pool. At 55, I took up triathlon because I’d seen other people who were older, or bulkier than me, out there doing it and loving every minute. At 61 I became a Win4Youth Ambassador and nailed a personal best at Palma de Mallorca by 28 minutes! That same year I represented Australia at the World Duathlon Championships (run/bike/run) and came 7th in my age group. This year I’m back as a Win4Youth Alumni with Lanzarote ahead of me. If I can do it, anyone can.