Have you ever pushed yourself past your limits? It feels like running through hell…
This Saturday, I did something that was completely beyond my limits; both psychologically and physically. We drove our children to my sister-in-law’s house and we left for the night. No… I’m not talking about having my children babysat… what I did after that was way more demanding!
I was just starting and I thought “What in the Seven Hells…(yup, I’m currently watching Game of Thrones 😉”.
The adrenaline, the blood rushing through my veins, my heart drumming harder than an old school tune by Metallica. All this was real… a little bit too much for me at first. I pushed so hard that I visited a part of me that I didn’t even know was there.
At first, it felt like hell. How can I run 7km more after rushing so much for the first 2? I felt pain; I even crushed my knees on a rock and kept running, bleeding. On Saturday night; we ran a 9km trail. As you might already know, I started running on my treadmill at the beginning of the year. My objective is to run 10 miles (not km) per week. To date, I’m 13 miles in advance to my cumulative objective. Each Wednesday evening, my wife and I go for a 10km run. I find it relatively easy. This is why I never thought a 9km would be that hard. But the word “trail” added to the run makes it crazy hard.
It was a run through hell as my heart wanted to jump out of my chest, I fell on a huge rock and there was blood running down my leg, but at the end of the race, I. felt the most amazing feeling ever: I did it! I was proud, satisfied and completely energized. I had given so much during the race that it was like both my mind and body were completely clean. I felt very good about myself. I went through hell and finished in heaven!
I could try to describe it, but I think this video does it best:
I didn’t make it to any championship, just a “regular” trail run, but for my first run ever, it was quite a feat! When I registered to the run, I thought it was simply running through the woods. I didn’t expect running through mud holes bigger than my pool! Hahaha!
What I like about running is that you don’t need much to participate in this sport. For this run, all I needed was a good pair of shoes (that I’m ready to get rid of since I ran for an hour through mud, water and rocks!), my iPod and good headphones (I use Monster Headphones since they stick in my ears in all condition).
So there are really no excuses for not running; I saw teenagers and boomers doing this race. I watched skinny, well built and beer bellies running on that day. Funny enough, there were more women than men doing that race!
It was my first run ever and I made two major mistakes. The first one was to run like a wild dog at first and pass by as many runners as possible at first. It’s a very bad mistake since you concentrate on rushing your body in the very first minute of a run that will last about an hour. I didn’t control my heart rate and had to slow down after 2km because I was losing my breath. I was happy to never have walked throughout the whole race, but I know I burned a lot of energy for nothing at the beginning.
The second mistake I made was to rush through mud holes instead of waiting in line to cross these obstacles. Most runners slow down and almost walk on the side to avoid losing their shoes in mud pits. Since runners were slowing down, I thought it was a good opportunity to gain a few positions. Here again, I burned a lot of energy going directly into the obstacles instead of recovering by going on the sides of the path. I had plenty of time to run faster in the rest of the trail that I could have saved my energy instead of bursting every 3 minutes.
I’ve been working out for the past 5 years now and I can tell that I’m not super fit, but I’m in good shape. However, I have never been a runner. I only started this year as I truly wanted to lose weight. Registering for a run was another step in my learning curve.
I’m very proud of myself as I pushed my body beyond any limits I would normally fix for me. And this is an interesting revelation: we are the only ones to put limits on ourselves. After 2km, I really thought I would never be able to run the whole race. I was convinced I will have to stop and start walking for a while to recover. But because I was in a race and because I’m too proud to quit, I controlled my breathing throughout the rest of the run and ended-up sprinting for the last 2km.
I can now affirm that limits don’t exist. They are made up in our minds and they determine where our conscious tells us to go. But you can always do more. I’ve learned that even someone that is a go getter like me puts limits and slow down its own potential. I was surprised to see that I wasn’t going “all-in” at first and that I could go for more.
I guess it’s just a matter of taking the leap to make it happen. I now look forward to the next run!
Readers, when was the last time you pushed your limits? How does it feel?
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