Thursday, July 4, 2013

Mind Over Matter

(Tjejvättern 100k bike ride, check, three to go!)

"The things our bodies could do if our minds did not stand in the way"

Last winter, when the Svensk Tjejklassiker (Swedish Women's Classic) bug was inserted into my brain, I was hardly aware that I'd been bitten. I just went along, minding my own business, planning to merely do the Tjejvättern (100 km bike ride) and then continue living my life as normal. For those of you unaware, the Swedish Women's Classic is a four-part, physical, endurance test that must be completed within a twelve month period. It includes a 100 km bike ride, a 1 km swim, a 10 km run, and a 30 km cross-country ski. The "regular" Swedish Classic includes a 300 km bike ride, a 3 km swim, a 30 km run, and a 60 or 90 km cross-country ski. 

One of our nephews completed the "regular" Swedish Classic, or Svensk Klassiker, a couple of years ago and even then my thoughts on the whole thing were along the lines of, "Good for you!" There wasn't a bone in my body that wanted to even consider doing anything more than a long-ish bike ride. And that thought didn't really include a 100 km ride. 

So there I was at one of my naprapat visits (a naprapat is a physical therapist, chiropractor, and trainer all rolled up into one) in April, telling her my plans to do the Tjejvättern and the reason behind it. That reason being that one of my friends (K) was doing the Svensk Tjejklassiker and, upon her invitation to join her, several friends decided to do the bike ride to keep her company, have something fun and physically challenging to strive for, and essentially have "an adventure." I'm still not sure why I did not consider the fact that our training would have to commence when there was still ice on the ground. But that is beside the point.

My naprapat then, very casually, innocently even, said, "You could do the Tjejklassiker too." Me? Are you kidding? Swimming in open water? Cold, Swedish open water at that. Running 10 kilometers?! Skiing 30 km on what are essentially pieces of over-sized spaghetti strapped to my feet?! I don't think so. It was not my idea of fun. But her words stuck with me as I rode my bike home from my appointment. I mentioned it to my husband and he said, "You are going to swim in the cold, open water?" I know. It seemed crazy and impossible and even though I could barely picture myself doing this swim, something inside of me had already started planning for it. I began reasoning with myself. I could train for and run a 10 k. I could train for and ski 30 k on cross-country skis. (Wait, what?) The swimming part, maybe I was naively thinking, would be the most difficult stage. 

Up until this past week, I half-joked with myself that this was all talk and that I didn't really have to do this Tjejklassik. Up until I registered and paid the fee to enter the swim, I had given myself an out. I could just not do it. But then the words of Sonya Tayeh (dance choreographer in California) just would not release me. I don't have an exact quote but as she stood in front of the dancers who'd made it to Vegas (yes, I am referencing the TV series, So You Think You Can Dance), and they looked back at her, tired and emotional and feeling like quitting, she said: "Your body can handle a lot more than your brain thinks it can." And she continued to tell them to push themselves with everything they had, physically and emotionally. To give it their all. After listening to that from the comfort of my couch, how could I not do this measly, little, 1000-meter swim? Exactly. 

So now I am registered for this 1 kilometer swim... which takes place in just two days (Saturday, July 6th)!!! And I actually took a leap of faith that I will finish it and I registered for the Lidingö Tjejloppet 10k run as well.

It really is just a matter of taking charge of your mind. If you set your mind to it, you truly Can Do It! Just one breaststroke more, one running step more, and one ski glide further... and I am there!

Er. Mer. Gerd.

Did I really commit to this Tjejklassiker??!!