Paul Peavy’s Blank Slate

There are 285 days until I run my first Ironman but after one quick email from my new friend Paul Peavy, former stand up comedian, current psychotherapist and two time Ironman, I have a whole new take on those 285 days and the workouts that each of those days will contain.

Last month my Daily Mile and Facebook friend Paula Kiger circulated my email request for stories and advice from first time Ironman finishers. Paul Peavy was kind enough to respond with the following bit of advice –

The first thing is “The Blank Slate.” Don’t look at the second workout of the day, don’t look at the week’s training schedule, don’t look at the month’s training schedule, don’t worry about what’s supposed to happen in nine months.  Just a blank slate in your mind helps you to not get overwhelmed.”

Although this advice seemed to have a ring of truth to it, there was a part of me that didn’t believe I could follow it. There was a part of me that was sure I couldn’t internalize this advice and make it work for me. I mean come on, I am already counting days, hours, minutes…

But somehow, the bigger part of my psyche won out.

I received Paul’s email on Tuesday morning, only minutes before I was to head out for my step up run, a grueling workout that had until Tuesday always beaten me.

But that day, I won. I completed the workout even though I had never before followed Coach Jeff’s instructions to the letter. I completed the workout even though my body was begging me to quit at mile eight of the twelve mile run. I completed it even though I had to lie down for a few minutes after I had finished. It was this last bit that made me realize I had done something above and beyond anything I had done before.

Before my sweat had dried I realized something was different mentally. I couldn’t put my finger on it that day but by Friday I understood – somehow Paul’s advice had taken hold.

When I originally read Paul’s advice, I thought I understood what he was saying but I wasn’t quite sure and even today as I sit here writing about the positive influence his advice has had, I am not sure he would agree that this is what he meant but it is what came from it.

Since that day, my workouts have all been great workouts. Not easy, not effortless but effective. Each workout has served a purpose because I have held his words in my head and suddenly each workout is “the workout.”

That step up run on Tuesday was not just one step up run in a long list of step up runs. It was the step up run that would get me to Ironman. That 3100 yard swim was not just another swim. It was the swim I needed to make it to Ironman. Each of the workouts this week, whether it was a recovery ride, a swim or a run, took me a step closer to Ironman.

I don’t know what my training schedule is for the month. I don’t know how things will stack up as the year progresses. What I do know is that the next workout matters. I have to complete that workout and make it count because in 285 days I will be toeing the line on a beach in North Carolina. In 285 days I will become an Ironman.

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About Ann Brennan

Ann Brennan is first and foremost a mom of three beautiful children. She is the managing editor of Beyond Limits Magazine and the creator of Ann’s Running Commentary. In 2012, Ann took Ann’s Running Commentary to new levels – first with a segment on the RunRunLive Podcast, chronicling her journey to her first Ironman and second, with a new channel on YouTube. Currently Ann is working on a non-fiction book series and working hard every day to remind people to get up, get active and get out there.
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4 Responses to Paul Peavy’s Blank Slate

  1. Emily says:

    Freaking. Awesome.

    Love it.

  2. Great advice. Kind of reminds me of our mantra in ultrarunning: “run the mile you’re in.”

  3. karen says:

    This is perfect. I’m going to try to embrace this tomorrow morning at the computrainer class I’ve been going to.

  4. Adam says:

    One workout at a time, future ironman.

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