Smile When it Hurts

Have you ever been long-into a ride, run, or swim and you just reach that mental exhaustion point?  I don’t mean your legs are tired or your heart and lungs are bursting… you’re chugging along and sorta just reach a point where mentally you just don’t have the desire to move that leg or arm one more time.  For me this happens on a regular basis; not frequently but definitely regularly.  It’s an odd feeling.  If it happens on a run it’s like I just don’t want to run any more and suddenly I have to really focus and just keep the legs moving and telling them to move.

I’m no psychologist and don’t really feel like I’ve got any real mental insights but I do have some anecdotal results that lead me to believe something… if you try to smile during those times it seems easier to keep going.  I know, sounds really cheezy and crazy but I’m telling you: try it sometime.  Now, the key is not to just force an awkward, non-real smile but to think of something that genuinely makes you smile.  You have to really focus on it, try to remember all the details surrounding the thought and then let yourself enjoy the moment.

I sometimes think about funny things my kids have done or said.  Or, I think about things I really enjoy doing like going boating at Lake Powell, or skiing on a bright sunny day in fresh powder, or eating really good food at my favorite restaurant.  Sometimes I think about funny things that haven’t actually happened but that might happen… like, “what if I lost my balance on this treadmill and just wiped-out all over the place, right in front of all these other people pounding away in their own little iPod-trance-worlds?”  Today, at mile 7 of my run, I saw that Volkswagon commercial with the little kid dressed as Darth Vader… what a great commercial and it made me really smile.  You get the idea… just something to focus on other than the monotony, the pounding, the breathing, etc.  And, somehow when that smile breaks out you feel a little lighter, a little less tired, and a little more elevated.

I saw this funny video today and thought I’d share it… next time your needing a little lift just think about this dude getting pummeled by the guys in the boats.

Leave a Reply