Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Power of an Athlete's Brain

Hello my friends! Have you missed me? I know I know, it's been a few days, but there aren't enough hours in my days. I've been really busy juggling work, baby planning, working out and getting ready to have this baby. Leave it up to the procrastinator (ME!) to get everything done during the last weeks of pregnancy. It's been hectic, but quite interesting.

Let's see, what eventful things have occurred since I last wrote on my blog? Well, lots of baby shopping and house cleaning and of course, my 2nd year wedding anniversary. I celebrated two amazing years of being married to my wonderful husband Milo on November 11th. We had a nice and quiet dinner and I ate what I most love: Salmon with veggies- it was delightful.

Today I want to talk about the power of our brain when we race. Have you ever felt so fatigued during a race that you thought you were going to collapse? And despite feeling exhausted beyond belief something kept you moving? This is the power of your mind to continue running even though you think you have nothing left.
According to Gretchen Reynolds from the New York Times, she stated that scientists have proposed a new theory on exercise-related fatigue called the psychobiological model. Basically, this theory states that our brains, rather than our muscles, determine when we are exhausted. The wonderful element of this theory is that if we believe we can do it, then we will!

Researchers believe that "self-talk" may help athletes during intense workouts and during races. "Self-talk has to be consistent and systematic." Self-talk is a very personal experience with yourself. I always create a mantra during races in order to help me get through the pain. My mantras have been as simple as "You can do this!" to "It's do or die. Get it done!" I can attest to the fact that self-talk works. It's interesting how no one taught me how to talk to myself during a race, but innately my body responded this way when I experienced pain.
I want to bring this topic full circle by relating racing pains with labor pains. In my preparations to have a natural and drug-free birth, I have discovered that labor is much like an athletic event. In my opinion, God intended for women to be capable of bearing a child- birthing was never meant to be a medical procedure unless complications arise. With that being said, I have prepared my mind to endure labor pains. I have developed a mantra that I will repeat when I feel those grueling contractions. I am determined to believe that pain is good (in this situation) and a means to an end. I truly believe that if I accept labor pains as a friendly experience in order to meet my son, I will get through it. This concept of motivating and encouraging yourself to get through extreme fatigue and pain is quite enigmatic- it reminds us that our body and mind intertwine in ways we could probably never understand.
Give self-talk a shot next time you're training or racing- you'll thank me later =).
How do you cope with pain when you race?
I am grateful for my religious foundation-
I am relying on Him to get through labor and delivery.
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