28 March 2008

The Power of Music

If you've been following this blog, you know that I've started training for my first 1/2 Ironman. On Wednesday evening, I had a 60 m. trainer ride which wasn't supposed to be a big deal. However, it turned into quite a big deal because for some reason, I REALLY struggled to complete that workout. In fact, I think I got off the bike 3-4 times and had to talk myself back into completing the ride. After I finally finished the ride, I was thinking about why it was so hard. It wasn't hard physically...I knew that I could do that, but it was very hard mentally. Looking ahead on the schedule, I knew that I had a 1 h. 45 m. ride today and I was dreading it.

This morning, I woke up and struggled to get out of bed, knowing that the dreaded trainer ride was looming. I considered lying in bed and waiting until tonight to do the ride, but I have a run tomorrow morning and wanted to have fresher legs. I considered skipping the ride, but knew that wasn't truly an option and that I was being lazy. I laid in bed for 45 m. considering the options and decided that I needed to get up and get it done...especially since I was dreading it so much. Who wants to dread something all day long?!?

So, I finally got up, got dressed, got the water bottles ready (*note to self - fill water bottles at night), set up the bike on the trainer, checked my e-mail, realized that my ipod was all charged, decided maybe I should listen to music instead of turning the tv up loud, and eventually got on the bike at 5:48am (my alarm went off at 4:47am). I turned on the music and started pedaling. I geared up for a bit to get my HR going and kept on pedaling. One of the things I'm working on is getting my HR up on the bike and working hard, so I decided to keep my cadence tuned in to the beat of whatever song I was listening to. Once I got going, I realized this was going to be a good ride and I settled in and started working harder.

At some point, maybe around 45 m. the song "Beautiful Day" by U2 came on. If you've ever watched any of the Ironman videos on, you'll see that several of them have "Beautiful Day" playing in the background, so apparently I've associated this song with races. As the song came on, I felt this incredible surge of energy, like the surge of energy that comes at the beginning of a race. All of the sudden, I was visualizing myself racing in the Utah 1/2 IM. I could see myself swimming well out in the Provo harbor. I could see myself pushing hard on the fast bike course and I could see myself passing other cyclists. I could see myself crusing into T2, hopping off the bike, and heading out on the run. The best part of this entire visualization was seeing myself cross the finish line with my arms raised in the air. I had a smile on my face the entire time I was riding during this song. It was awesome! I think I may have finally found my power song!

As my ride went on, I started to get tired and ready to get off of the trainer. I think around 1:15 m. I really started struggling mentally, but then the song "Crawling in the Dark" by Hoobastank came on, followed by "A Little Less Conversation" by Elvis, followed by a Coldplay song that I love, and then I was done! (I think there may be some other songs in there, but I don't remember them right now.)

While I enjoy music and I like to listen to music during runs, I haven't been listening to music very often, mostly because I like talking to my training partners while running. This morning though, I was able to truly draw on the power of music during my workout. I felt so energized and empowered during my ride, and while I will never ride outside with my ipod on (who would do that?!?), I hope that when I'm struggling during an event, I can draw on the power to overcome my mental struggles.

The coolest part of this workout was the unexpected visualization that occurred during "Beautiful Day." I know that, from now on, whenever I hear this song, I will think of this ride and I will think of my races and know that I will be successful in them. I will see myself smiling as I cross the finish line. I will see myself accomplishing my dreams and goals. I'm pretty sure this is the song that will be playing in my head when I race at Kona!

So, because I have no idea who looks at this blog, except for a few people, what songs do you hear in your head? What are the power songs in your life?