Embrace the Suck
The comfort zone: a warm bed, a snooze button, the couch and Netflix, an easy run instead of a scheduled track workout, staying out of the rain…doing it tomorrow. This is where dreams and goals go to die. If you never step out of your comfort zone you’ll never find out what you’re truly capable of. No one promised it would be easy, and some days it flat out sucks, but you have to learn to embrace that suck. Feel at home outside of your comfort zone. How do you know if you’re stepping outside of your comfort zone? It’s going to be hard, it will definitely feel like work, and it might even scare you a little bit.
Just over a year ago I moved from the land of corn fields and train tracks, Illinois. Not a lot of places to do hill repeats even if I wanted to, let alone mile plus sustained climbs. Flat was my comfort zone. On April 16th I found myself well outside of my comfort zone. I was running the Yakima Skyline 50k, a trail race with 9500 feet of ascent and descent, as much gain per mile as the Hardrock 100. I won’t bore you with the details, as I’ve already shared my race report, but it was a long, tough day with a 7:57:03 finish, and a smile on my face from ear to ear. The race had the desired effect. I was out in the Gorge running Larch Mountain, Table Mountain, and Angel’s and Devil’s Rest to make sure I was ready for the day, and I finished one of the toughest 50ks in the nation. I’m a much stronger climber now, and I can take that physical and mental toughness with me into any future race, and even life.
Amazing things happen when you step out of your comfort zone. The more you do it, the more you discover about yourself. And you don’t have to go to extremes. Maybe you try a new race distance, maybe it’s going from road to trail, maybe it’s an ultra, or maybe it’s just a far more challenging course at a distance you’ve already tackled. Scare yourself a little. If your heart doesn’t beat a little faster thinking about what you’ve gotten yourself into then maybe step out a little further. You’ll continually prove to yourself that you’re far stronger and more capable than you ever imagined. It won’t be easy, it’s going to take a lot of work, but in the end you’ll love it and you’ll be smiling ear to ear.
Embrace the suck,