I am happy to announce that I took this Monday by the horns and, in going for the gusto, had many unexpectedly pleasant moments. Even with a few administrative speed bumps, the office day was complete with follow up visits noting improvement and multiple opportunities to share the benefits of osteopathy with new patients. Littlest greeted me with joyful squeals and sticky snuggles at home and the normally hectic transition (aka Monday madness) was surprisingly smoothed. I had a few quiet moments to complete cupcakes as requested by middlest for his impromptu post-soccer-practice birthday party and embraced the opportunity to share a Paleo recipe with my team.
Practice itself went well, due in large part to sunshine replacing the frigid downpour of weeks prior and, likely, thanks to the promise of birthday snacks. In what proved to be a sensationally simple celebration, sharing games and treats with friends already gathered for the weekly soccer session, middlest had a moment all his own and the team enjoyed fun together. As the evening cooled and we chased pockets full of sunshine to keep warm, the focus shifted to my husband, who reunited with his own teammates after a long winter riddled with injury, rejuvenating his competitive spirit.
Though bedtime neared, I couldn’t bring myself to drag biggest and middlest out of the last predicted day of warmth this week. So, as they took turns keeping goal for one another, I found myself wandering to the edge of a grassy 1312-foot oval. In what seemed a fated encounter as the CrossFit Endurance Workout of the Day (WOD) called for Short Intervals – specifically a 400m time trial – it seemed I had no choice but to try my hand at keeping a consistent pace through eight rounds. With gratitude for the unexpected opportunity, I just started running and managed to stay within the 1:26-1:28 range over each lap.
While I was pleased with the time and, more importantly, the consistency even with shorter than recommended rest between, I marveled at the rate at which elite athletes are able to navigate that elusive single lap around the track. Reflecting on my own experience with the distance in high school, always seeking in vain the exclusive 60s goal, I could feel the intensity of all that is involved – from the burning legs to gasping lungs to the mental breakdown of each straight and curve of the track to make the meters more manageable, not to mention the ambiguous placement of the race in the sprint or distance category.
I was intrigued by this statement regarding the distance (from Stack.com):
The 400m requires all energy systems combined with solid technique at the start, proper running mechanics, clear strategy, smart race tactics and the right mindset to withstand the mental torture of mind versus body.
And in that, I gained a deeper appreciation for the distance I have most certainly completed in training more than any other and recognize that it has contributed, more than any other single workout, to my progress as a complete athlete. The 400 is unforgiving – reveals weakness both physical and mental, marries sprinter with endurance athlete, requires technical skill and execution of plan. What an opportunity to test and develop such a variety of elements in 90 seconds or less.
These concepts integral to the 400 hold simple, even obvious, talking points for success. I propose that we honor significance in the simple and use these thoughts as gentle reminders and accessible mantras to find daily opportunity to make tangible change. Can you find a place for any of these statements in your day to improve performance at home or at work? Can they help you refocus and encourage as you complete a task, consider a goal, approach a deadline, face a difficult conversation?
Engage all energy systems.
Employ solid technique from the start.
Use proper mechanics.
Have a clear strategy.
Develop smart tactics.
Strengthen mindset to withstand mental and physical challenges.
Just as that seemingly humble, innocuous singular lap around the track can require us to dig deep and helps us build strength, perhaps these basic statements can lead to contemplation and bolstering of resolve.
And so I close this sunny Monday in May grateful for success in embracing a new vantage point on the day and encouraged to expand the circle of influence of the 400m run beyond the track. May we find opportunity to fire on all cylinders, to embrace challenge from all angles and feel the exhilaration of exhaustion from expelling best effort. All systems go!