Ben: “Sometimes I feel like my brain is battling my body when I run. And I don’t know whether it’s more important to listen to my brain, which says go home, we can’t do this run today, or my body, which says we’re fine – keep going.”
Me: “I totally get that. I think it’s really important to listen to our bodies, but I also don’t know that we’d ever see growth or reach our potential if we didn’t push ourselves past our comfort zones.”
One day, over eight years ago, I realized that I couldn’t keep up with my cousins. Not only could I not keep up, I couldn’t even pretend to keep up anymore.
We would go to the cane fields to run and then train at the gym, and all I could do was walk (and I don’t mean power walk, either). I always told my cousins that I’d meet up with them at the end of the run because I didn’t want to hold them back. Sometimes they’d jog circles around me just to keep me with the group, and other times I’d wander around six-foot tall bushels of cane, singing to myself, until the rest of the crew came back together laughing and covered in well-earned sweat.
Back then, my reality was limited. I didn’t think I was athletic, or even healthy, to be honest. When friends asked me to go to the beach I’d refuse and make up silly excuses like, “my grandma needs me to help her check her blood sugar” (for years I would only go to beaches where I knew I wouldn’t see classmates with only my family members). I didn’t have the energy nor the self-esteem to play sports or even socialize much. If you would have asked me what I was capable of, I would have told you that my mind was capable of anything, but my body had definite limits.
That day in the cane fields pushed me to try something I felt was impossible; later that week I signed up for Curves and talked to my mom about the diet that was working for her.
Fast forward a few years to my college days. My reality before college was simple island life. College life was a dream, but I really didn’t know if I could actually do it. Leaving home was rough, but I made friends quickly and easily in Oregon, which made me feel like a good and worthy person. Yes, college life was hard, but it was also so very freeing! I was allowed to recreate myself, and I was doing it!
It was that energy that gave me the self-esteem and confidence to step into the [testosterone-filled] weight room for the first time alone. Especially on a college campus, where the majority of women stay within the cardio room, I didn’t feel like it was possible for me to lift with the men, even if I already knew how to work all the machines. It was also that energy that got me to Aotearoa/New Zealand, helped me find the greatest friends a girl could ask for, and complete a three-day trek.
About 16 months ago, I told Ben I wanted to try running, because it was always an impossible feat in my life, and I wanted to see if someone like me could really learn to run. Turns out – just like everything else – it’s possible! :)
The string of simple leaps of faith that have unfolded in my life have changed me and made me realize that nothing is ever as big a deal as I make it out to be in my head… so I might as well live big! Making the impossible happen is what life is all about. Pushing the boundaries I have set for myself has brought incredible rewards and made me realize that I have unlimited potential.
To this day, I continue to push myself to recreate my boundaries. This morning I tackled another impossible feat: interval training! I did 3 miles of intense, heart-bursting Farklet training as the sun rose over Haleakala. And you know what I realized? Sprinting in Vibrams feels just like flying!
I feel as though I should state, just for the record, that I don’t mean to encourage pushing yourself when you are feeling injured. As always, listen to yourself and learn to understand the fine balance between healthy and unhealthy ways of pushing yourself.
What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? What have you always pushed aside because it seemed impossible?
If you are catching up on the Motivational Monday series, here’s what you’ve missed:
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