What determines our limits? Is it our mind or our body?
I’m reading Endure; Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance by Alex Hutchinson. In it is a story about Diane Van Deren, who, because of reoccurring brain seizures, had to get a kiwi sized part of her temporal lobe removed. Our temporal lobe is the part of our brain that is responsible for the awareness of time, short term memory and spatial recognition.
After her surgery Van Deren became an extreme runner. She has run 100 miles without stopping. She has run for 22 days straight only sleeping an hour a night. At the Yukon Arctic Ultra, a 300 mile race, she began the race in minus 48 degrees and ran the first 100 miles without water.
Because of Van Deren’s short- term memory loss and difficulty keeping track of time she is conditioned to be in the present moment. “I get lost in time” she says.
Because she doesn’t know where she is in time, she doesn’t know how tired she should be. It's not that she doesn't experience pain. But rather, she doesn't associate the pain with a story about the past, or what might lie ahead.
How would you perform differently if you weren't ruled by time?