I played sports as a kid and had coaches and teammates push me to practice hard, play hard and win. I thrived in that environment and always enjoyed the physical challenges I received from sports. Was I on winning teams? Maybe once or twice. But I gained confidence from athletics and physical achievements that taught me much about perseverance and ‘embracing the suck‘ when I didn’t even know what that meant.
As an adult, running races fit the bill as do really hard workouts, like the annual Murph Challenge (minus the weighed vest) and other workout challenges. But make no mistake, I may bonk at a race and walk more than run (Dipsea, I see you), but completing a challenge or race makes me feel confident and strong. Although it may take a day or so for the sting of underperforming to go away.
This weekend I decided to do the Dipsea stairs and hit the trail for a short run. I was gasping on the second set of stairs, so I stopped at every section, drank water, caught my breath, and continued to the next section. It was a hard slog to the top of the third set of stairs and up to the trailhead. Due to the fog, I decided not to head onto the trail, so I did the stairs several times. Down the 3rd set, up to the top, back down, and over to the second set. Down a section, back up, down to the next section, etc. In the end, I ran over 1,200 steps.
Was it hard? Yes. Was I going to quit? No. Hard is ok. Pushing yourself (safely) is ok. Doing more of the hard physical things helps us deal with the day-to-day emotional/mentally taxing things. (I think there are some scientific studies to back me up on this).
So what about you? What are you doing that challenges you? Taxes you? Is hard but rewarding? If you can’t think of anything, message me so we can come up with a plan. Challenges create strength, and that creates confidence. And with confidence, you can achieve anything.
Now go run!