Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mind games: Concept #4 = anger

When the going gets tough, the tough get angry.

Lance Armstrong, one of the greatest riders to ever spin a crank, is expert at channeling anger and turning it into Tour de France wins. Lance had a tough childhood, and it wasn't a big jump when he focused on bad memories with former stepfathers and dug deep inside. The past was hurtful and the only way through it was to use the rage inside as a motivational tool to outperform and overcome the best cyclists the world could offer.

On a much lesser scale, I have channeled anger onto the trail and forward to the finish line in ultra races. At another time in my life, there were personal and work issues that had me bound up on the inside. This pressure cooker of an existence needed an outlet and in my world ultradistance was the valve. I raced hard, often, and with deliberation.

About a decade ago, I started the year with the Bull Run 50 mile in April, the Ice Age 50 mile in May, then the Mohican 100 mile in June. After that I ran a smattering of marathons and 5oK's, of which I can't remember (I may have completed the Mountain Masochist 50 mile that fall). All in all is was a big miles year, and much of it was bred through anger.

I'm not saying this is a healthy place to stay for a long period of time. I no longer race in that mode and now am rather flippant and fun loving about the outcome.

However there are some times when something or someone trips my trigger and angry Tommy emerges. My pulse becomes stronger and the footsteps increase their cadence. When anger is used with purpose it can make you a bigger competitor that you normally are.

Not for long, and not on all occasions. And it's not always there like it used to be. My world has become a more peaceful place and that's all good.

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