mental stregth upgrade

Can you give me a mental strength upgrade please?

I’m thinking along the lines of one of those computer games where you can earn and accumulate mental strength points.

I used to get up at 5 am (even earlier sometimes) and go for a 15 or 20 k run.

In the dark, in the rain, in the snow… didn’t matter.

Say!
In the dark?
Here in the dark!
Would you, could you, in the dark?
I would not, could not,
In the dark.
Would you, could you,
In the rain?

Dr. Seuss

Turn on the Sony Walkman and just go.

I’d listen to Gretzky’s old girlfriend Vikki Moss singing IF I TURN YOU AWAY (David Foster song) … and I’d fly, especially in the chorus. I could shave a minute off my mile time when Vikki sang. (Talk about the power of song… and big hair)

Along the way, I’d pass the bearded dude on his bike (you could set your clock to his daily ride) who’d sometimes stop and tell me about his porn website business (WTF?)… then I’d come home, shower, eat breakfast, help get the kids out the door to school and then head off to work.

It was challenging and often even painful for sure, but usually I felt pumped to slap my Nikes on the pavement and push to improve my speed. I’d be dripping buckets o’ sweat afterwards but ready to face my Microbiology agar plates in the lab.

Later, at the end of the day, I might go for a 20 k bike ride, or a 1 k swim in the pool or the lake.

Next day was similar. Wash, rinse, repeat.

That was me in the late 1980’s.

I look back now and think to myself… “Who was that friggin’ guy?”

Ironman 1990 Run Larry

Me… Ironman Canada 1990

It couldn’t have been me cuz I don’t have the mental energy to begin to contemplate anything like that.

I did a 12 k run this morning and it was a struggle… not a physical struggle really, my body can handle it… but it’s the mental struggle that exhausts.

I have to play mental games and tricks to keep myself going.

I go to a one-hour yoga class every Monday. I love the yoga stretches, but I don’t go to the later class because they’re longer than an hour, and strangely, even yoga takes mental energy…

Mental energy takes… *surprise*… energy. Energy that, like drilling for oil, sometimes comes up a dry well.

My mental energy rises when I play my guitar. It strikes a “chord” that invigorates, and now I worry a bit about the day that might come when even guitar is a drain. W?W?What if, what then?

Happily, my inner voice whispers insistently… I don’t think it will happen.

The mental energy needed to play guitar, or for you, whatever gives you a unique feeling of pleasure and release (pets, genealogy, sewing, bible-reading, star-gazing) has an amazing additive, restorative effect.

We know from our high school physics classes that energy is neither created nor destroyed… shifted, adjusted, moved… sure… but not destroyed.

I’m learning and adjusting as I age and coming – slowly – to accept that the mental energy I once bottled for use in long runs and triathlons, is now being utilized in other areas of my life.

Today, my mental energy supplies are doled out in small dollops to blog writing and volunteer jobs like soup kitchen, school lunch programs, grandparenting, and tutoring… and yes, I still save a small aliquot (that’s old “lab” speak) for running, swimming, yoga.

And of course… listening, practicing, writing, and performing music.

Most days now I still wake up about 5 am, but the exuberance for throwing on my New Balance running shoes (yes, I’ve changed brands) and knocking off a dozen kilometres first thing, well…

… those days and that form of mental energy have dissolved away like an Alka Seltzer tablet I’m saving for my older days yet-to-come.

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