As I was halfway through the lower bowl during my first successful Old96er I thought to myself, “Jen you are going to have to be comfortable being completely uncomfortable for 59 minutes if you want to finish this thing.”” And I was right, it was uncomfortable, it was a grind, I needed to be stubborn and man, it was worth it! I hadn’t really pushed myself that hard for a long time. I like being comfortable, I like running under control: control of my breathing, my pace, my thoughts, with “ease.” I push but only so hard. This, however, has also allowed me to set some limits, limits like telling myself, “I can’t run a sub-5 minute km anymore“, “I’m almost 40, so really, I need to accept that I am not going to be as fast as I was a couple of years ago” – basically limits that have allowed me to make excuses not to get to that uncomfortable spot.
This week I was challenged. I celebrated as so many friends ran unbelievable 5 km times Wednesday night. My husband, who would declare himself a non-runner, ran over 8 km at a 4:51/km pace. I am so proud of them all and admittedly also a little jealous. I allowed thoughts like, “man, they are all getting so much faster than me…I can’t run a 4:51 km right now…I can’t go under 5 min kilometers…” to run over and over in my mind for the last few day. And then I stopped, with a little help & encouragement from Rob, I stopped.
I stopped and thought…why not? Why have I set this barrier down at 5min/km? Why is this arbitrary unit holding me back? So, last night I decided that I needed to get uncomfortable, to challenge this perceived limit. I wasn’t going to let my mind tell me that I was too slow or too old to go that little bit faster. Thankfully Nadim was willing to get up extra, extra early on this holiday Monday to support me and as we ran the course before most of you arrived, I ran harder and faster than I have run in a long time. I was uncomfortable, I had to be stubborn, I didn’t talk, not sure if I even laughed or smiled a whole lot but when my watch stopped and I saw that I ran those 6 km in 27:17, a pace of 4:32min/km, I was proud and reminded that I can do more than I tend to give myself credit for.
For each of you who woke up early this holiday Monday and got uncomfortable, congratulations! I know that for some of you this was your first race and for other personal bests were achieved. For some, simply getting up before 9 on a holiday Monday or hugging sweaty “strangers” in the dark is getting out of your comfort zone. Whatever limits you might be setting up for yourself – challenge them, questions them and then go break them down knowing that the tribe is here to help you accomplish that!!
Wednesday – Commonwealth Stadium Gate 2 (the dark season is quickly approaching, last chances for these light season stairs)
Friday – Walterdale Hill
Until next time…SMILE! JShare via socials: