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Michael Homburger 03-15-2006 09:21 AM

Article about ultra-endurance athlete Jure Robic (winner of RAAM the last two years).

The part I found very interesting:

Fatigue, the researchers argue, is less an objective event than a subjective emotion — the brain’s clever, self-interested attempt to scare you into stopping. The way past fatigue, then, is to return the favor: to fool the brain by lying to it, distracting it or even provoking it. (That said, mental gamesmanship can never overcome a basic lack of fitness. As Noakes says, the body always holds veto power.)

‘‘Athletes and coaches already do a lot of this instinctively,’’ Noakes says. ‘‘What is a coach, after all, but a technique for overcoming the governor?’’

Dan Snyder 03-15-2006 09:44 AM

Good article. He's one tough MF. Speaks to the power of one's mind in increasing one's performance.

"Yet Robic does not excel on physical talent alone. He is not always the fastest competitor (he often makes up ground by sleeping 90 minutes or less a day), nor does he possess any towering physiological gift. On rare occasions when he permits himself to be tested in a laboratory, his ability to produce power and transport oxygen ranks on a par with those of many other ultra-endurance athletes. He wins for the most fundamental of reasons: he refuses to stop."

Peter Queen 03-15-2006 02:48 PM

Mind over matter. Works for me. Just like my quote: "The War with Reality...."

Michael: I have to admit you caught my attention with your title post. "That Which does Not Kill Me....." mmmmmm, that sound familiar.

Dan: Cool picture with the wildland smoldering in the background. So that's what a wildland helmet looks like. When we do have to fight brush fires we have to wear our heavy triple layered city issued turnout gear.

Graham Tidey 03-17-2006 07:18 AM

Mental toughness is something I'm working on at the moment. Two years into CF and I occasionally have to miss a week here or there and then the way back is a slippery slope. Toughing out a WOD, finishing every rep, going max effort requires mental "tomates". La Motta had them, Ranulph (spell) Finnes had them and I want them. Of all your heros, which of them has ever quit anything? None of mine have.

Cole Hanley 03-17-2006 10:29 AM

A saying among ultra runners goes "pain is temporary, quitting is forever."

About Jure, RAAM, and sleeping: can you imagine riding your bike all the way to the east coast and losing by a half-hour because you took a quick nap somewhere way out west a few days ago? I'm not saying that happened but just think how bad that would suck.

Barry Cooper 03-20-2006 10:35 AM

I will say, listening to Ghost Soldiers really opened my eyes to what is possible. You got guys living on bugs and monkey stew for months, suffering from malaria, dysentary, trench foot, and who knows what else, get captured, march for a week with maybe a cup of water a day each in the tropical sun, and little or no food, and getting cut down if they break rank or fall behind. Then they wind up in POW camp, with no medicine, and little food or water, and hang on for 3 years. That book permanently reset my views on what is possible.

An equivalent might be doing RAAM, but getting one water bottle every other day, 1 Powerbar a day, breaking out once into a malarial fever for a day while your friends carry you on your bike, and stopping and defecating every thirty miles for most of the trip. Unbelievable.

[I did notice an "a" transposed with what should presumably be an "o" in the title]

Tim McFarland 03-20-2006 01:07 PM

I thought the "a" transposed with the "o" was a deliberate joke, pretty durn funny too if you ask me.

Cole Hanley 03-20-2006 06:26 PM

I hadn't noticed the "a" and "o" thing until Barry mentioned it but having read the article it's clear the author did mean "Stranger." And not just a little either. It was really an interesting article but there is some bad news in there. It seems quite bit of research supports the idea that our muscles can do a lot more than we think but our brain tries to trick us into thinking we have to stop. It was easier when I could be content with the notion than my little muscles were just plain done.

Barry Cooper 03-22-2006 02:37 PM

My bad. I need to be more careful before I spout off. I did actually read it, this time.

One interesting quote: "In the late 1800’s, the pioneering French doctor Philippe Tissiť observed that phobias and epilepsy could be beneficial for athletic training. A few decades later, the German surgeon August Bier measured the spontaneous long jump of a mentally disturbed patient, noting that it compared favorably to the existing world record. These types of exertions seemed to defy the notion of built-in muscular limits and, Bier noted, were made possible by ‘‘powerful mental stimuli and the simultaneous elimination of inhibitions.’’"

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