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How many times have you had to do something that was not particularly appealing but just plain had to be done? Stuff like this is usually important or you wouldn’t even consider doing it, so you’ve just got to get it done. That is one of those times when you’ve just got to put your nose to the stone and grind it out.

I recently heard this term from a guy who was considering a really difficult bike race with mega elevation gain. Somebody else was describing the difficulty of pieces of the ride and this guy said thoughtfully, “No, I can get through that. I am an extreme runner and I know how to just… grind… it… out.”

Since then I have been thinking about an individual’s anticipation and acceptance of just grinding it out. If you have ever done it you know how it’s going to be – really, really difficult. It’s going to be unpleasant. It’s going to hurt. But you know what to expect and you are sure you can do it, will do it, and will feel pretty darn good about it afterwards.

I usually think about this “grinding it out” when I am on my bike approaching one of those hills that go on forever at a grade that I know is going to be challenging for me. I get ready for complaining lungs and legs, but most preparation I need is for the challenges I will face inside my head. I frequently call upon the words that I have heard coaches and mentors say over the years. I use these words as a combination of prayer, meditation, and incantation; surprisingly to much success.

You can laugh, but “Ain’t nothin’ to it but to do it” and “Quitters never win and winners never quit” have gotten me and my bike over some tough stretches. I might as well admit to chanting to myself on a long 7% grade “bulldogish hangontiveness” over and over. It comes from my junior high school principal (We were the Trexler Bulldogs) and flows nicely over the other “I can’t do this” voices.

I have now reached a place where I truly grasp the beauty of just grinding it out, and I can do it; albeit, at my own level. I am surprisingly happy about this and about knowing that everyone can grind it out at his or her own level and that someday we will all tire of our perceived levels and grind it out even further.

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