My last "personal best" half marathon was December 2013. I ran 1:22:30 (6:17 pace) at the Oxnard half marathon. Since then, I have ran around 10 half marathons. Different course logistics and terrain equates to different times but all of the times have been between 1:22 - 1:30. I think that is my first point of this blog, MAINTENANCE has MERIT. See once you reach a specific fitness level, your increments of improvement slows down. In fact, there will be races where you just didn't run your fastest times. But what I am most proud of over the past 12 years of training and racing is not my fastest times or best races, it's my consistency to keep going after my goals. It's a no brainer that I always want to get faster and run PR's but I just know that's not how it works. What's key for me is being obsessed with the process. I love the journey and the growth I gain from the process. I always want to be fit and I always want to challenge my physical limits. To me, it's a lifestyle.
Yesterday I ran in a local half marathon. My time of 1:21:03 (6:11 pace) was by far my personal best half marathon. I was able to shave 90 seconds off my former personal best. Two years ago, I wrote down the goal to run a sub 1 hour 20 minute half marathon. I have not yet achieved this goal. But I am getting closer. It doesn't just magically happen. It’s a hard goal! I set a goal that I knew would challenge my limits.
See everyone has limits. I had a limit on my half-marathon that was hard to break. I have been working on it for a few years. And I finally did it. I finally pushed into a new realm. Not just physically, but mentally I have broken limits. This gives me confidence to keep pushing my current physical and mental limitations. But now I have a new limit. Am I willing to dig deep and keep going after that outer edge? HELL YES is my answer. See for me, I truly get to know myself when I am challenging my limits. When I get to my edge, how do I respond? Do I give up? Do I find a way to keep going? Do I stay motivated? Do I do the work? How will I handle set backs and obstacles?
Internally it's a war. Some days I will feel tired, drained and mentally and physically weak. How will I respond? My response: "GET THE FUCK UP, don't be lazy, go do what you need to do." Yes I have said that to myself many times. This internal dialogue happens. And 99% of the time, I get up, I train, I do what’s needed to achieve my athletic goals. It’s not sexy; it’s not fancy, just plain ol’ hard and consistent work.
You may have goals. You definitely have physical and mental limits. Will you go after those individual limitations? John C. Maxwell said it best, “If we are growing, we will always be out of our comfort zone.” So life really happens when we are challenging our preconceived limits. If you want to live a full and abundant life, you will not accept the status quo. You will constantly be pushing yourself. You will live life on the outer edge. And you will do this till the day you die.