Tuesday, December 1, 2009


"Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is my off season from training for triathlons. I plan on hitting next year hard and fast. Yes, I have a lot of hopes for the upcoming season. I’m trying to forget my limitations that I reached this year and go well beyond them. 

Sometimes when we know what our limits are it can be difficult to stretch them. Sometimes we have to stare our limits square in the eye, challenge them and then, if all else fails, beat them to a pulp, at least in our minds, before we are able to move beyond them. 

It's much easier to do this physically than it is mentally. We can up our training, work on technique and simply get stronger to improve. But in order to go beyond, to reach that territory where we haven't pushed ourselves before, or at least in a long time (if  you are old like me), it all comes down to the mental toughness. 

For instance, in high school I could run a 4:20-something-minute mile. This year my fasted mile was 7-something. Last year it was 9-something. I know my body, even at my age, is capable of reaching at least a 5-something-minute mile, I just can't break through that mental barrier to get there, yet. 

But that's what I'm going to work on - breaking my mental barriers. I'm in the best shape I've been in since school so I just have to get the mental side of me in shape and convince myself that I am able to do what my body knows it can do. Sounds easy, but I know it's going to take a lot of work. I'm working on next year's training plan and designing it for speed and mental toughness, at least for the first four months.  

Even though it's my off season, I’m going to try to face my limits and figure out how to stretch them. That's what I like about swimming. I don't really have a past with swimming since I'm still just learning how to swim. It's been two years and I'm still learning technique and still improving. 

There are no walls, boundaries or limitations for me with swimming and I like that. Like the 41-year-old Olympic swimmer Dara Torres says, “(Your dreams) may become harder to achieve, but your dreams can't stop because you've hit a certain age or you've had a child. The water doesn't know what age you are when you jump in ...” Now that's cool.


debbie said...


Bruce Stewart (ブルース・スチュワート) said...

For me, I think breaking the mental barrier applies not only to swimming, but also to things like my ability to make a living. In fact swimming and working go hand in hand, and all work and no swim would mean I would be in disastrous shape and all swim and no work would mean no money to keep the boys in college. This year has seen a little improvement in work, and a little in swimming (in technique if not times), but next year I hope to see improvement in both work and swimming. Your posts are always inspiring.

Randy said...

Bruce, I never thought about how that might apply to my job but you are right.


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