Back to BootCamp: Persistence and Fear

I couldn’t sleep last night.

In the muggy thickness of a strange and humid Portland summer my mind traversed continents.  Upon entertaining the notion of going back to India I found myself off on a Nepali trek with a witty Kiwi named Peter.  Memories and intentions blurred, scraping the surface of dreaming.

This is what you think about when you are distracting yourself from the fact that you’re sweating through your sheets and there’s a boot camp that awaits you in no less than 4 hours.

The truth is, I was nervous.

We had a two week break after the last boot camp session and then I missed a week (last week) due to business travel.  After three weeks off my pony, I was a little leery about getting back on.

The fear is not that fitness will somehow evaporate in a matter of days or weeks (that’s a guarantee to some degree) but that my will power will somehow do the same.  The worry isn’t physical failure, it’s mental weakness.

In this respect, mental toughness, while an inherent trait, is also a carefully developed skill.  It requires as much practice as anything else.   You hone it.  You strengthen it.  You create a kind of emotional muscle memory associated with your ability to suffer and endure.  The more frequently you put it to task, the more powerful and accessible it becomes.

When you take three weeks off, you’ll be hard-pressed to dig into your memory-bank and figure out exactly what it feels like to go through a Week2 BootCamp Monday workout.

That unknown breeds anxiety and anticipation.  (Which can, in some cases, lead to inaction.)

In the morning you wake up, kill the workout, reintroduce yourself to every angle and curve of pain that course through your body, and feel silly for wasting a perfectly good night’s sleep.

And then you make a mental note to self: no more three week breaks.

Period.

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