On Sunday September 1st 2019 I got beat up.
It was my fault. A series of decisions, and probably my biology, put me in the position to be in immense pain that day.
I completed the Shenandoah 100, an ultra-endurance backwoods bike race in the mountains of Virginia. The experience was taxing on my body. My quads were quaking, my forearms were on fire, and my body was bruised. Twelve hours of physical exertion is a lot to endure.
I thought I planned my recovery week accordingly. I allowed myself to step out of my rigorous workout routine and planned to refrain from general physical activity. My body rebounded quickly. The following day I was achy but was not debilitated by pain. On the second day, I returned to my bike to commute to meetings and by the fourth day I was back in the gym.
However I had not recovered.
I neglected to consider the mental aspects of regaining normalcy.
I planed to proceed through my typical professional week. I maintained my usual load of meetings, I had a major event on the books, and the calendar had a launch date for a significant project. My mind needed to be incredibly active to accomplish the load.
I unknowingly did not create space to process the experience.
A critical part of endurance athletics, or doing anything hard in life, and quite possibly the true challenge, is the mental aspect. It takes a tremendous amount of will power to push through extreme activity. There comes a point where you are bored of having done the same thing for extended duration of time. You just have to keep going. There comes a point where irritation hits your awareness. You just have to keep going. There comes a point where you feel the pain. You just have to keep going. There comes a point where you ask why am I doing this. You just have to keep going.
To accomplish the big and challenging things in life you have to override your brain.
Mental prowess is developed through such exercises. This self induced trauma creates frameworks to see things differently. This new perspective is where you will find power to leap over personal and professional hurdles.
So what happened on my ride that I needed to get out and what value might doing so provide?