Moment of Discouragement, Moment of Realization
Sometimes you need to take two steps back to be able to move forward. Last night I probably took 10 steps back. There is what happened.
I hit a physical and mental wall last night. It was our weekly group training and boy was I not ready for what was to come. We had to run and cover a certain distance in 15 seconds, 15 seconds rest and repeat and repeat and repeat…all of this in about 8 inches of snow. I found the first sprint hard. By the 4 or 5th one I could barely catch my breath before starting the next sprint. After about 6 repetitions I thought my torture was over. The mental wall really came when we were told we would be doing it all over again.
No. I can’t. How? Please make it stop. Those were the only things going through my head. Those 15 seconds seemed like huge mountains. I know it’s all a question of perspective and if you put your mind to it you can achieve anything. But I just couldn’t get there.
The worst was the pressure I created for myself seeing all the other participants pushing through their own pain and doing it.
Then I really cracked. With two sprints left I stopped. I couldn’t do it anymore. The group went ahead and did their two last sprints. I could hear them. I wanted to turn around and encourage them to keep going, but I couldn’t. I felt like such a traitor. They were struggling. They were hurting. But, they were doing it. It killed me to think that I let them down and didn’t push through. Emotional breakdown.
I disappointed myself. I let the doubts take over. I disappointed my team.
If I can’t manage to run a few 15 second sprints how will I ever get to New York?
Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success. Dale Carnegie
What amazed me is how supportive everyone was. They comforted me. They reassured me that I wasn’t a disappointment. Their words and gentil touch made all the difference. This is why we push each other physically during the challenge. We get to see that despite the pain, despite the struggles and the mental breakdowns we survive. We survive hopefully to be stronger. Stronger together.
I always put lots of pressure on myself to keep up with the group. I don’t want to break the pace. But in the back of my head I always have that perception of myself as a non-athlete. I can’t keep up because I’m not as strong as the others. I don’t have the natural ability or the cardio. I always put myself at the bottom of the pack.
On the way home in my car after the workout last night I realized something…I was out there. I was running with everyone. I wasn’t at home on my couch listening to tv. I was moving. I was participating in a sport. I wasn’t being lazy. I’ve run 5km races. 10km races. A half-marathon for God’s sake. Fuck that, I AM AN ATHLETE!
Last night made me realize that I need to be nicer to myself. Just like my team was with me. I am part of the team. I can measure up. I am not a non-athlete as I often refer to myself. I can compete. I can push my limits. I am an athlete. It’s as simple as that.