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Thursday, December 3, 2009

The power of the Human Mind!!

Every day I spend hours upon hours why the hell people do what they do!!  As a sales manager, I spend my waking hours trying to determine what motivates people to do what they do.  One moment it will be a support staff who has promised to get something done and not finished it.  The next moment is a sales person who is blaming the customer for an order that he lost.  Next it is a customer on a visit coming up with some crazy excuse why he is going to wait until tomorrow to place his order.  What the hell makes people do what they do???
Think about it for a minute.....we decided one day that we would go and do an IRONMAN!  Who the hell in their right mind would choose to do something as ridiculous?  Because we can!  We all believe that we have the physical ability to train, the supportive families to allow us the time required, the resources to get the gear and the nerve to take the plunge.  That is the power of the human mind.  A tool that we carry with us every day that goes through some method of reason to allow us to make educated and seemingly logical decisions.  We make those decisions with somewhat of a notion of the potential and eventual outcomes as well as the path that we need to take to get there.
I have read all sorts of race reviews since I started this journey to the IRONMAN start line.  It amazes to learn about the power of the mind.  Stories of athletes feeling like they are going to puke on the swim and working through to the end without losing it.  Getting on the bike and truly convincing themselves that they will never finish the race because they are out of gas, only to cross the line hours later to hear, 'you are an IRONMAN', being on the side of the road during the run thinking it is all over, and 30 minutes later moving forward towards the finish line!  Let's face it, physically those people were at the end of the road.....but the mind takes over.  We look back in a flash moment at the months of training and sacrifices made, the thought of giving up and having to repeat it, a reflective moment on why we decided to do this in the first place, a million things run through in every grueling second of a race.
The power of the mind is amazing!  The ability as humans to put aside the feeling of total exhaustion, physically as well as mentally and using your mind to move you forward!  Most of the weaker people of the world just say that we are nuts.....I don't think so!!!
We get up each morning(and bitch about it) because we make the choice, we run in the snow and freezing weather because we want to.  we push ourselves to the point that we are going to be sick because it is good for us, we go to the start line because we made the choice and we cross the finish because the power of the human mind does not allow us to accept the circumstances of any other choice.  The process is a constant process, justifying each step along the way, re evaluating why we made the choice, pushing harder because we should, not training because we can, training twice because it feels good.....and it goes on.

This post is likely a bit of a ramble, but it is an attempt to capture the respect I have for the decisions that athletes and humans  make to do the race and the victory of crossing the finish line.
I have not done an IM yet, but at this point of my training towards the start line it is not only a physical evolution, but a great brain game as well!  I am having the time of my life and I cant wait to continue to push my limits, be forced to make decision because they seem so wrong but are the right thing to do and continuing to have those 5AM arguments with myself about why I should get out of bed.  I hope all of you have as much fun as I am in your IM world!  If not, oh well.....not my decision to do's yours!  Cheers!


  1. Had lunch today with a great friend who asked me which of the three sports I enjoyed the most. I answered honestly - NONE! It's the mental aspect of training and competing against myself that really draws me to the sport. It's that 6" between your ears that's going to get the biggest workout at Wisconsin!

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  3. Many people ask me why I am training for the Ironman and it is not easy to explain it to an outsider. Your post did a good job at explaining it.
    By the way, after reading your post the “You can quit and they don't care. But you will always know.” (Cmdr. John Collins, founder of Ironman) phrase came to my mind.