A Helping Hand to Help Complete the Race


This challenge is teaching me more and more everyday about how much this is more than a physical challenge. It is a mental toughness challenge. It is a team collaboration challenge. It is a challenge about accepting your limits; accepting that others can help you along the way.

Our coaches are constantly teaching us about team collaboration. We have a technique where your fellow runners can put their hand on your lower back and slightly push you forward. This allows you to catch your breath and recuperate a little while continuing to run. I usually appreciate the hand on my lower back. I feel that it is giving me the physical and moral support I need. I can’t help but thank the person afterwards for their support. Other times, the hand feels like an extra load has been put on my shoulders. This load on my shoulders is a psychological one. A self-imposed load. Sometimes when I can’t catch my breath and my legs are killing me and I don’t think I can continue any further the helping hand pressures me into continuing something I think I can’t. It’s that mental hamster that starts acting up again.

The other day when I was struggling and my coach put his hand on my back, the hamster started playing tricks on me. All I could think was “I don’t think I can keep going, and now he’s pushing me to go even faster.” But that couldn’t be farther than the truth I later found out. Afterwards when my coach asked me how I felt when he put his hand on my back I told him about the pressure I created for myself to go even faster. But after talking it out a bit I realized that it wasn’t the case. The hand was simply there to help me catch my breath so I can continue going farther not faster. I realized that I should be welcoming the helping hand, without it I probably would have stopped long before we did.

I have a feeling I will need a few of those helping hands this Saturday as we run through our preparation challenge. Across the span of approximately 24 hours each participant will be running 5 relays of 8kms. That’s 40km in 24 hours. A lot of that journey will be uphill and probably in not so nice weather (weather forecast is rain rain rain for the whole day). It will be a test of how we handle both the physical and the mental part of the challenge.

My promise to my fellow participants is to accept the helping hands and embrace them as gifts that will allow me to go further, and not peer pressure to go faster.

How have you come to accept help in your life? What has it done for you?


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