If It Doesn’t Challenge You, It Doesn’t Change You

Running Diary, Week Seven: Take a chance on yourself

The title of this post is borrowed from a tweet I saw on YMCA GTA‘s Twitter account, and it’s been floating in my head ever since.

Before we get into it, I’ve been running so happily I can say that today’s post isn’t an excuse-apology post – hooray! But still, the emphasis of this entry won’t be on physical progress, instead concentrating on breaking through the mental wall, which is something I’ve been struggling with, both inside and outside of running.

I promise one day I'll step up my photography but until then, I'm going to mine my old pictures to demonstrate my point. From my trip a few years back, here we have the Great Wall of China, literally the biggest wall I've experienced.
I promise one day I’ll step up my photography but until then, I’m going to mine my old pictures to demonstrate my point. From my trip a few years back, here we have the Great Wall of China, literally the biggest wall I’ve experienced.

The wall is a familiar term, it’s the point when you feel like you can’t. go. on. It’s tough and honestly, it’s the pits. Hitting the wall can come in many forms including the 2-3pm slump, a time in the afternoon when you feel tired, a bit grumpy, and perhaps in need of a snack; during a marathon or race; or in bigger ways such as school, your career, or with your relationships. Sometimes even the most talented, gifted, “together” people hit the wall and succumb to its power. I don’t think you’re any better or worse for it because we’ve all been there. We all have those times when we don’t think we can keep going, for one reason or another. We have to accept that it happens to the best of us.

What’s more is that sometimes I think we put too much emphasis on making the best of things and deriving meaning, trying to rationalize our feelings without realizing that things just suck. We hit the wall because we couldn’t do it and we should accept that things don’t always work out and we have to accept things for what they are. It’s not necessary to have to have an answer for why things unraveled or why we couldn’t go the extra mile. We are entitled to failure.

It’s picking ourselves up from that point, which is important.

Finding that moment when you pick yourself up and push yourself is tough. Why not stay where you are? And this is where I am right now.

You’ll have to pardon me with me as I use this running analogy as a cliched metaphor for my life because I know it’s lame but I don’t know how else to express myself. I won’t get into the details too much because I’m not ready but right now, I’m nearing the end of one road and the trouble is, I don’t know where the next one will lead me. I could continue on the path I’m going, which will be bumpy but more or less possible to navigate BUT I won’t be challenged. This option provides a small level of certainty and regularity in my life but mentally, I’ve hit the wall.

What it feels like at the moment, tunnel vision. I don't want to keep going forward for the sake of it but I can't see what other options are available.
What it feels like at the moment, tunnel vision. I don’t want to keep going forward for the sake of it but I can’t see what other options are available.

Alternatively, I could forge a new direction all together.

The former option doesn’t lead me to where I need to be in the long run but it gives me more time, kind of coasting to get along whereas the latter will stop me dead in my tracks for the time being and it’s terrifying. The second option is more challenging because it’s route is unknown but the potential is there.

I’ll stop here because even I’m feeling a bit uncomfortable with my speaking in platitudes and analogy. The time for talking is over, and it’s the doing that’s important now. I’m scared.

To tie it back to running (otherwise it’s misleading to call this a running diary), I’m nearing the point where I should increase my distance and work towards improving my time. I’m doing well where I am right now (who would have thought!?) but I want to do better. Also, I’m finally understanding this whole running as meditation thing. Perhaps runners were on to something after all 😉

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