Mind Over Matter

Okay, so I’m a runner at heart. I’ve been running since I was in middle school…

well, really I’ve been running since I was a kid. I would always run down my driveway when I got off the school bus. But I’ve been running as a sport/recreational activity/therapeutic activity for several years.
So if you were to ask me to create a running plan and talk about what was important for good training I would be able to give you a halfway decent answer. I am by no means an expert, but I really like it and can decipher my way through a lot of articles and pull out the important stuff.

Put me in a gym with weights and I’m going to look at you with a “and you expect me to do what with these” kind of expression. Strength/weight training highly intimidates me. I feel like a fish out of water when it comes to that aspect of exercise. But I know it’s really really good for you and is actually important in preventing injuries and will make me a better runner.

So a year ago I joined a gym… because I wanted to be a better runner. And I joined the particular gym I joined for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, there are many days that I feel like I’m a fish out of water flailing around on the ground. Especially as I am planning to run my first full marathon this fall I want to use these next couple months to get stronger before I start my marathon training.

Yesterday I had my monthly training session with my coach and we did a circuit workout. I always have my trainer do strength training with me because it helps develop my confidence and gives me direction in this particular area. In yesterday’s circuit he included the pull up machine, that reduces weight for people like me who have pathetic excuses of upper body strength. But the thing is I know my upper body is my weakest so I always get highly intimidated by the pull up machine. I become the queen of “I can’ts”. 

On my last set of pull ups I had to do 12. I knew they were coming. I was dreading them every time TJ told me it was pull ups. At the end of the set of 10 I noticed my attitude approaching the pull up. I was so intimidated. I was telling myself I couldn’t do it. I was too weak. So as I was approaching the last set I tried to change my attitude towards them. I could do it.

I’ve completed 3 half marathons. I’m probably going to run a marathon this year. I finished nursing school after 5 1/2 years. I passed my NCLEX on the first try!

And then I was reminded of something from clinical this past semester. Whenever we had a patient tell us they were afraid of needles and we had to start an IV on them my preceptor had a couple of things she taught me to do, but one of the things she did was tell a story about a baseball player who was pitching really fast balls for a man of his age and when people would ask him how he did it he would always tell them mind over matter. 

mind. over. matter. 

My body is completely capable of doing a pull up, especially with the help of a fancy machine. What was holding me back most was my brain saying “you can’t do this, you are too weak, you are out of your comfort zone better stop before you fail”.

The thing is – we grow when we step out of our comfort zones. And maybe I was reminded of the importance of mind over matter with physical exercise. But this lesson applies to life as a whole. Each day we have a choice. We can choose to see the good, to the joy in the day, or we can dwell in the negativity. We can choose. Our emotions actually don’t have that much reign over us. We have control over how they effect us. We can choose to take action on something that has our emotions heightened or we can choose to wait, to recognize that we need to calm down before we say or do something.

And this is true of faith too. There will be many-a-days in life when we don’t feel like praying or going to church, but we choose to do it anyway.

So maybe there’s something you’re afraid of doing. Maybe there’s something that the only reason you’re not going for is intimidation. As we approach a new month starting tomorrow, I encourage you to take steps towards overcoming this fear.

My goal is going to be doing pull ups every time I go to the gym this month. I hate the pull up machine because I’m intimidated by it, but I’m going to use it because it is only by trying and stepping out of our comfort zones that we will learn what we are truly capable of.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. I feel ya! Even though I did gymnastics growing up and strength conditioning was a huge part.. to this day I DREAD Pull-Ups!! But, just like you said we need to jump outside our comfort zones in fitness and in our faith!


  2. Mind over matter is such a good reminder for life and faith! Great post!


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