Drenched with sweat, panting, I look up at my husband. He is equally fatigued. Sometimes with him by my side, I start to feel like I can do anything, and crazy ideas and aspirations pop out of nowhere. Glancing up, one of these crazy ideas enters my head.
“I want to run to that mountain peak.”
“Krista, I know it doesn’t look that far, but that is four miles there and four miles back, and we don’t have anymore water. You can’t do that right now; we just finished a hike. Maybe after you have trained more…”
“You know what… THIS IS AS GOOD AS IT GETS. This is the most fit I will ever be. The most capable I will ever be. If I can’t do this today, then I will NEVER be able to do it. You want to do a 14 mile Spartan Beast in TWO months? (Background: The Spartan Beast is another example of a crazy idea that had popped into both of our heads at our last CG Games competition).
“This is my peak, and I am OK with that. Great, in fact, but this is IT. So I can’t do the Spartan then. I’m out.” OK. He was totally right. This was a horrible idea, especially without hydration, but I was picking this fight to prove a point. “What was he thinking??? We, especially “me” cannot do this upcoming race. I don’t even know how to run!”
That next day I ran eight miles. So here’s the thing. I DON’T run unless a trainer is making me in bootcamp. But something was lit on fire, perhaps my own stubbornness. In fact, I actually thought it was impossible for me to be a runner, but I started running with the intention of doing an interval workout.
“Just one mile,” I told myself. I ran that mile.
“OK, one more…”
Then before I knew it, I had somehow run five miles, and when I thought I couldn’t run anymore, I pushed myself harder. I ran eight miles that day.
Then the next day, I did it again. Except now for time. And I was fast. In fact I raced myself my last two miles, clocking a 7:30 pace. I had no idea how to pace myself for the first set of miles, knowing I didn’t want to burn out too soon, but as soon as I knew “this was it,” I flew.
Those last two miles felt like a fire inside of me. I had nothing to hold back. I didn’t have to preserve anything. I could let it all go. For me, it was the hair before impossible–My sweet spot. Years of pent up potential energy burned through me and pushed me beyond any predetermined goal (or should I say “limit”), I set for myself.
Stopping, heart pounding, drenched in an endorphin laden coma, dopey smile spread across my face, I exhaled slowly, deeply.
I texted my dad, former marathon runner, my stats. No one else would appreciate my bragging rights. For years growing up, I longed to run with him (I wanted that to be our “thing”). However, somehow I always got stuck on that first mile. My legs never moved beyond feeling like lead. I wasn’t flying, but rather awkwardly moving cement blocks that used to be my feet, and gasping for breath as if the blocks had somehow cemented me to the bottom of an ocean floor. So needless to say, I never got past “the hard part.” I never found the space where running was incredibly challenging, but yet also liberating and free.
“Dad, I wish I would have found running before now. I could of been really good,” I texted.
“Everyone has to find running in their own time and journey.” Seriously one of the deepest things my Dad has said out loud (or in this case texted). He prides himself on not taking life too seriously (on the outside at least), though I know there is a lot more mush on the inside (SHHHHH).
OK, so maybe I was not at my “peak” that day in the mountains. Maybe there isn’t one. How freaking liberating is that? And if I just keep getting stronger, where could that take me?
Yesterday, I walked into my dermatologist’s office for a routine visit. She hadn’t seen me in four months. I hadn’t lost anymore weight since I had last seen her, and what she said to me next made me smile from ear to ear, as I confidently proclaimed “Thank you!”
You see, I always felt awkward when people would comment on my recent weight loss. I mean yes, I had… but I wanted to quickly follow it up with, I swear I am not “trying.” (Past Eating Disorder me was terrified people might think I wasn’t being “healthy”)
And the truth was, I wasn’t trying to lose. No. For the first time in my life, I was trying to GAIN. Strength, speed, endurance, and energy. Weight loss was a side effect of these goals. This is the healthiest attitude I could of ever hoped to whole heartedly embrace on my fitness journey (And given my contorted dysfunctional past relationship with my body and food, this was so HUGE for me).
So what was it anyways that my dermatologist said to me that inspired my cheeky grin and gratitude…?
“Have you been working out?” I started to hang my head slightly, ready to awkwardly respond, when she surprised me with “YOU LOOK SO STRONG!”
“Thank you!” “Yes. I have been working out.”
So then I went home and I freaking signed up for that14 mile Spartan Beast with my husband-the hair before impossible.
And I thought to myself… what other areas in my life are almost impossible? Where else am I stuck with lead shoes? And how do I break free?
More on that another day, thanks for reading…