I’m sure this comes across as a somewhat dark and twisted statement, but I mean this in a positive way that I hope you will understand by reading this post. Limits are meant for defying, and I am living proof of this. “Pain is temporary, pride is forever” are words to live by as far as I’m concerned.
Having been told by doctors on numerous occasions that I could have died last year, my perspectives have shifted in many ways. As many of you already know, I was hospitalized in the ICU for 3 days last summer with a blood clot in my brain. If you didn’t, you can read all about my blood clot experience here, but that is not what this post is about. This post is about pushing limits for personal growth.
I ran the St. Paddy’s Half Marathon last weekend in Des Moines, Iowa. My decision to sign-up was somewhat impulsive, but I wanted to test myself to see what I was capable of running. I was already going to be in town for a bridal shower for my cousin Evan and his sweet bride-to-be Brittney, so the timing was perfect. Iowa is my true home, and I will not deny my strong emotional ties to the many people and places I so dearly love. I love going back any chance I can get!
The night before the run while sitting in my parents’ kitchen, I was looking over pace charts and sending silly Snapchats with my sisters and dad. In my mind, I envisioned myself running around an 8:25-8:30 minute per mile pace as a BEST-CASE scenario, with a final time exceeding the 1:50:00 mark. Out of curiosity, I posted the following on my Facebook page:
I actually laughed at some of the guesses under the 1:50 mark because they seemed unattainable. I’m a decent runner, but I am not the fastest runner out there and certainly not as fast as I used to be. However, I am still pretty proud of myself as a runner. When I woke up on race day at 5:00 am, I felt ready. The 90-mile drive from my parents’ house to Des Moines was stressful and somewhat terrifying due to stretches of winter weather conditions on slick/snowy roads. However, I made it safely with plenty of time to spare. I was focused and ready to run.
Race jitters and adrenaline were on my side at the race start, and I felt light and powerful. The temperature was rather cold, but it wasn’t snowing, raining, or sleeting. The first 6 miles passed quickly and my mile splits were quite fast for me, averaging under an 8-minute mile pace. I didn’t know how long my speed and stamina would last, but I kept going. Things started feeling rough around mile 8. At that point, I was over the halfway point and knew I just needed to accept the pain. I thought about my training miles and didn’t want my hard work to be in vain. Though my pace did slow during these miles, I stayed pretty consistent and strong. My finishing time was 1:46:03 (~8:05 minutes per mile average). The feeling of crossing the finish line of any race is indescribably euphoric. I was on cloud 9 the rest of the day and the days following. It makes me smile thinking about it now. This was a well-organized run, and I definitely would recommend this run to others! My cousin Morgan ended up winning my contest with her guess of 1:46:00. She was only 3 seconds off my finishing time! The GPS on my watch was a bit off in the photo below.
This wasn’t a personal record (PR) for me, but this race has sparked a flame of confidence in me. You are almost always capable of more than you even think possible, so I challenge you to work on a goal outside of your comfort zone. Comfort zones are a place of contentment, but don't you want to experience more? Real joy begins when you tap into your full potential—and that usually involves some pain along the way. Stop making excuses and DO IT. It will be miserable and brutal at times, but you will survive and thrive. You can thank me later!
In the meantime, I am going to keep training away for my next half and full marathon, both taking place in May. I'd love to hear what goals you're working toward -- even if it's nothing related to running or fitness! Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!