Friday, May 28, 2010

Mental Toughness

I must confess: This morning I had cereal. I am ashamed. Cereal is my kryptonite. If I eat it, I feel like pig feces (and for what it's worth, pig feces is the worst of all mammal feces, bar none! Trust me, THIS I KNOW!). My sugars spike, I feel like crap (pig crap) and it's a miserable experience. So, one might ask, if I feel so friggin awful, why, WHY do I eat it?? It's like I get this alzheimers moment and think, hmmmm, maybe a bowl - or 6 - would be tasty. Yes, it's tasty (all cereals - just... YUM), but, listen Tiffany, you MORON, it doesn't work for you!!! Why can't you get that through you thick skull??

I am, from this moment on, swearing off cereal forever. I'm putting it out there, for accountability. I will never eat cereal again. And if you ever see me eating cereal, you have my full blessing to smack me upside the head and chastise me. I will not become a closet cereal eater. I will own my decisions. I will confess ... but it's not going to happen, because I am finally so absolutely disgusted with my poor choice to indulge in such a self-destructive way, that I feel like I am finally ready to declare and own cereal abstinence FOREVER! ROAR!

Today I headed out for an 11 mile run. I felt crappy for the first 3 miles and thought to myself: these are "junk miles" ... I'm going to need to do this again. BUT, there was a reason. After the cereal festival, I took 5 units of insulin to try to ward off the BG spike. I waited 1.5 hours to run, and felt okay when I started, but, unaware, I was low and dropping. I now know what it feels like to have hypoglycemia while running. Here's how I describe it: If I looked straight ahead, I felt like I was in a movie and it was 3D and I was a spectator to everything. My muscles kept up the running form, but my MIND was screwed up! If I looked down, to any degree, the sensation changed - I was confused, disoriented, and the phrase that keeps cycling through my mind is "I can't think". It feels like a dream. I thought, is this a real experience or am I dreaming this? (Add to this the fact that the last 2 nights I've dreamt that I was in the Rev3 Quassy Half IM and I couldn't finish. UGH!)

I stopped, took a goo, ran to the next gas station, and got a gatorade. Within 5 min I felt like a NEW PERSON. Those "junk miles" were behind me and ahead of me was a great run. Overall I had a slightly higher than 8 min mile pace going, after recovering from low BG. I was happy with that.

My focus for this run was to work on my mental toughness. They say that completing an Ironman distance triathlon is 50% Physical and 50% Mental. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? Only 50% physical??? I'd think 80-90% would be more like it, but that's what they say. While I was a bit skeptical about that, I think it set in as fact for me when I saw the athletes at IM St. George. I am now a believer. 50% Mental toughness. I'm PRETTY mentally tough, but I have my limits. I definitely have room for improvement here. I can be pretty hard on myself. As I experienced a disappointing second half of my marathon 3 weeks ago, I watched my mental toughness fade and become extinguished ... I can see how that would happen with IM. The last 2 miles of the marathon were brutal. I wanted nothing more than to be able to run them and cross the finish, but my body had no RUN left in it! Steve was right there, running (WALKING) beside me to support me, but I just couldn't run because my cramping was so bad. It's soooo frustrating, disappointing. To not be able to do what you WANT to do. Then comes the mental self-abuse, as you are harder on yourself than you would ever be to anyone. With others, you support them and try to point out that physically, today wasn't your day. But do we do that to ourselves?? NO! We beat ourselves up. Not good!

So, today I envisioned the challenges I will face - physical and mental. And how I can prepare to be supportive of myself, mentally, so that I can inspire myself to dig deep and press on. I can live with some walk on the run leg - no problem. But I want to feel good about the journey I'm taking when I'm doing my IM. I've wanted to do an IM since I was a little girl and watched it the first time on TV. So, I want to enjoy the journey!!

Many of you know that I'm going through a very personal crisis at this time, and that challenge has posed some difficult obstacles to my training, focus, and motivation. I am working to use those emotions and channel that negative energy into something positive. You've heard it said "that which doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger"... well, I believe that! I feel like now I need to learn to be stronger, mentally, emotionally, so that I can become a focused, dedicated, motivated and consistent athlete. I will never be on the podium. And that is just fine for me. I just want to identify a goal, work hard to achieve it, and succeed at that goal. I need to keep the goal in mind, and enjoy the journey along the way. I can do this!! I know that I can do this. Despite adversity, despite challenges physically, emotionally, and mentally, I can be strong and I can complete 140.6 miles of swim, bike, and run. I have a FANTASTIC support network. I have people that love me, believe in me, and have been critical in helping me survive this difficult time. I am grateful. I am blessed. I can do this!! And my mental toughness ... well, I'm training that too!

Peace out, peeps!
Tough Tiff


  1. I saw my doctor yesterday for an annual check-up. He told me to stop eating cereal for breakfast and go with oatmeal and a hard boiled egg. Turns out I had the last bowl from the box that morning. I'm not going to buy another box.

    Small changes for better heath.

    I'll be watching you Tiff and asking about the cereal.

  2. Good!! I need some accountability!! I will definitely be honest if I fall off the wagon, but here's hoping that my cereal days are behind me. :)