Testing the limits of human endurance
Today I went out for a 6am run.
I didnt feel like getting up, I didnt feel like going for a run. But I still forced myself out, breaking the cycle of listening to that morning voice that tells me to sleep, only to regret it an hour later when I am completely awake.
The weather out was beautiful - blue skies, soft chilly wind, birds chirping, and empty streets with a handful of people out on the street to start their days. Motivated and confident I expanded my chest and straightened the spine just a little bit, to a joyful jump in my step.
I entered the park and started the run. Slow steady strides... But very soon I realised my legs were sore and completing the full course today might be difficult. Today was Monday, not the day to listen by "i cant dos", but instead "I think I can..have I tried my very best". My brain went into the search for inspiration and tactics to find a way to do this run, overcoming the physical and mental constraints.
And then I remembered Llyne Cox's open water swims, when a planned 12mile, 5hr swim across the Cook Strait, New Zealand, took her 10hr 14 minutes because of the currents so strong that even a ship struggled to land itself. Instead of not trying, instead of giving up, instead of going slow, she kept giving her absolute best. When all her physical and mental energies were draining out, and she couldn't even see the shore ahead (as she was drifting farther from where she started) all she did was count 1 to 1000 strokes and back. Slowly she will go into a trance, connect with the stride and find a way to emerge stronger than when she started the count, to be able to sprint when a strong tide came along the way. She became the first woman to cross the Strait!
I did the same today. When I couldn't think of completing my full run, I got into a jog, started counting my strides from 1 to 1000, looking up at the nature and finding unexpected flowers and leaves along the route. Initially I wanted to get over it, so every step was one count, and then slowly I started seeing i was counting every other step to counting my breaths and not the steps... I sprinted the final 200m, almost flying at the final 50m when I felt the body so light that it felt it was wind itself, moving forward with no effort...
Human endurance is beyond what we have proven to ourselves in past and what our minds can even fathom. Stories of ultra athletes, like Llyne Cox and Lance Armstrong and Rafael Nadal, sometimes gives us an incredible peek into it. Why not test it out and be better every day?