pushing past comfortable

[I wrote this several months ago.  Now I am in training for my first full length marathon.]

Yesterday, a friend and I ran 13.1 miles.
(Which involved getting up at 3:30 am to drive to a drop point on the other side of town in order to be bused to the way-out-there start-lines, where we stood huddled in the cold and dark, clustered around heat lamps with all the other participants until it was finally time to start the race. /Whew!)

My plan/goal was just to finish. I was thinking of keeping a nice slow pace (“la-la-dee-dah”) and breezing into the finish having accomplished merely running father than I previously have.

My friend, however, was in this to push hard and make a time goal.

So we found ourselves running at a nice stiff pace that I usually reserve for much shorter distances. I kept thinking we’d eventually slow down, but the miles flew past and we kept that pace like clockwork. The last two miles, pushing to the end of our limits I was SURE we’d slow down, but still we kept that pace. (It was NOT comfortable at this point.) And then finally the homestretch and a sprint to the finish, and zohMyGAWD that hurt SO MUCH!!… But we did it.

It made me realize how much I hold back, satisfied to stay in comfortable safe areas, when actually I have the capability to push farther/harder/faster. This, not just in running. In personal relationships and my professional life as well.

It’s a fairly straightforward thing to pick up the running pace a bit. Not so simple to explain what that means in personal and professional aspects of my life, but it’s something I am thinking about.

There is this: I would NOT have kept up that pace if I had not had my friend next to me, motivating me, encouraging me. (Thank you Katy.)

Meanwhile… My knees and my quads are ANGRY at me for keeping that less-comfortable pace. Ice packs and ibuprofen are helping.

[Here, here and here are the posts chronicling the building of my active life.]

You may also like...

5 Responses

  1. Deborah says:

    Thanks for this. I just came across a comment by Joseph Campbell that’s sticking in my mind, “The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.” I suppose that hearty yes requires crossing the threshhold of comfortable more often than is . . . comfortable . . .

  2. Caroline says:

    Wow, G, way to go. As someone who can’t run more than a quarter of a mile, I’m amazed that people can push their bodies like this.

  3. Karen Pratt says:

    I recommend you read “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy to apply this to all aspects of your life. It is an eye opener. I think you will love it! It is helping me in all areas of my life as you mention. Inspiring!

  4. Hydrangea says:

    G – congrats on training for your first full – good luck. I love how running has the potential to connect us with our bodies and provoke us to think about the bigger picture. I love it when life proves us more capable than we give ourselves credit.

    Last marathon I ran in October I went out uncomfortably strong, kept up the exact pace for 24 miles only to hit the wall, degrading myself to a near walking pace and a caustic attitude as I crossed the finish line. I think the lesson learned was push, but listen to yourself along the way and make adjustments. Don’t be afraid to change pace when needed. Adjust for hills.
    Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply to Hydrangea Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.