I’m still not sure why I started running in 2003. Maybe it was a simple desire to lose weight. Maybe it was some deep desire to know that, in my early 30s, I could still be competitive at something – even if that something was of my own creation, like my last 5k finishing time. Whatever the reason, I started running.
And I ran.
And I ran.
And I ran.
Like Forrest Gump, I ran.
Then I thought, since I was running anyway, that I needed to run toward something. I needed a goal. Running a 5k. Running a 10k. Finishing a half-marathon. Finishing a marathon. Qualifying for Boston. Why choose? Why not just do them all?
I read two books to learn how to train. Crazy, right? I mean, who doesn’t know how to run. You put one foot in front of the other and just repeat that about 180 times a minute. I read two books, though, Run Fast by Hal Higdon, and The Running Formula by Dr. Jack Daniels (the first AND second editions).
There is a tremendous amount of running knowledge in each of those books, and a tremendous amount of insight in human behavior that explains why some people excel and some people do not. There was something that I read in one of the books, though, that I’ve tried to apply outside of my running life. I mention both books because I can’t remember in which I read the line, but it went something like this:
If you want to be the best runner that you can be, you’ve got to learn to run in the uncomfortable zone.
Whether it’s at home, at church, at work or even on my morning run, I like my comfort zone. If I want to be the best that I can be in any of those places, though, I’ve got to get out of my comfort zone and put myself in a place that pushes me intellectually, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. So do you.
If I want to be the best _____________ I can be, I’ve got to learn to grow in the uncomfortable zone.
What is that blank for you? If you won $300 million today, how would you fill in the blank?
The funny thing – perhaps the dangerous thing as well – about the uncomfortable zone is that, the more the you’re in it, the more purposeful you have to be to get in it the next time. That’s because your comfort zone is expanding. Running one mile in 6 minutes seems difficult until you try to run two miles in 12 minutes. Then the 6-minute first mile seems easy (well, easier).
Go grow today.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/