Preparation Running Challenge: A Unique Experience that Nourishes You Through and Through
How can you describe spending 30 hours in a motorized vehicle with 8 other runners and running 44kms in 8 km intervals with no sleep in between? I don’t think anyone can really understand the mental challenge this represents unless you have lived it. We all have our challenges in life. Some are imposed on us by life, others we impose on ourselves so we can test our limits. The preparation challenge the Montreal-New York Challenge was a self-imposed challenge worth every minute.
24 hours later I still don’t have all the words to describe how I feel after this challenge. I am proud of what I personally accomplished, but also what my team and all the other participants accomplished. I’ve said it before; the old Nancy would never have dreamt of being able to accomplish this feat of running 44km in 30 hours. Whether you had to be helped for a few kms (that was my case) or you pushed even harder to help others around you who were struggling themselves (that too was my case) everyone had something to be proud of.
I started this pre-challenge with the optic of challenging myself and pushing my physical limits. The one moment of true discouragement came after the 2nd relay where I had struggled throughout most of the relay. My cardio wasn’t keeping up with the pace of the rest of the group, the hills seemed like mountains and I had someone’s hand on my back for the majority of the 8kms. I still had 3 more relays to complete. Everyone seemed to be feeling ok and not at their maximum capacity. How was I going to make it?
I struggled with the decision of changing running pace group and going to the next time slot. Making the switch would mean that I could more easily complete the remaining relays, but not within the time frame I had given myself. As I struggled, one of the coaches asked me one question that made all the difference: “Are you having fun?” Thank you Martine for that question.
When I first started this aventure I thought I needed to be constantly pushing myself beyond my limits. If I wasn’t going faster and harder I thought I was failing myself. No one was coerced in this challenge. Just the mere fact of running 44km in 30 hours was a big challenge for me. In the end, whether I took more time than expected to complete the kilometers doesn’t make a difference. What makes a difference when I look back on the challenge is whether I can reflect and feel proud about what I accomplished. I decided I wanted to have fun during this challenge and not doubt my capacities throughout the entire process, and so I made the decision to change groups.
In the rationalizing of my decision I realized (with the help of my teammate Laurence) that I had a pattern putting myself in situations that pushed my limits too far. It is ironic for a conservative, risk-intolerent person like myself. I have a desire to push myself, but sometimes I seem to be unrealistic in my expectations of myself and focus only going even further and harder. I place myself in situations where I tell myself “you can’t really do this. You are not good enough.” Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do I start running and just 5 months later I find myself running a half marathon? I like pushing the limits, but I put myself in extreme situations where I keep asking myself am I good enough. These are all questions I don’t yet have the answers to. I am, however, confident that this challenge will help me gain a greater sense of introspection that will allow me to grow as a person.
To all the participants of Montreal-New York I truly admire all of you. We will rock it when we arrive in Time Square on June 2!
I encourage everyone to find a something that pushes you outside your comfort zone. Live the experience. Learn from the experience. But, most of all enjoy the experience.