I am here to say that, for me, halfway there in most things in life is the hardest place to be. You're not at the happy, hopeful beginning, and you're not at the light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel finish. You're halfway. And running up to and then through the halfway point requires digging deep and finding another gear. Getting on the other side of halfway requires GRIT.
For example, I'm halfway through an interval workout. 24, 200 meter intervals, to be exact. Interval numbers 9-16 will be brutal. But I dig down and find my way to the other side of halfway, to the home stretch.
I'm in a 5K race. I'm coming up on mile 2. All the race jitters and positive vibes from the start of the race are being replaced by the hurt. The experience from mile 2 to mile 3 is always the longest, hardest, most defeating time on feet I experience. It hurts; like really hurts. Time seems to expand, there's no end in sight, and all those demons of defeat and self doubt are suddenly running along side of me--taunting and laughing. But I dig down and find my way to the other side of halfway. Magically, at the start of mile 3, I will run out of that little stretch of hell and into the home stretch.
And now, it's the Christmas season. I am fresh off of Thanksgiving, and genuinely feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for what running has given me, and I've decided to write a post a day for the Twelve Days of Christmas. Flash forward to today, Day 7 of the 12 Days of Christmas. This has been more challenging than I anticipated. But I think to myself, I'm halfway there. I can do this. Just stay focused, head down. Keep writing. Finish your commitment. And then I remember those intervals. I remember those 5k's.
Running has taught me persistence. Running has taught me to put my head down, dig deep and keep moving--especially when I'm tired, or facing those tasks that I don't feel up to. Running has grown GRIT. Sometimes you won't have a great effort to give on intervals 9-16. Sometimes you won't have the best split for mile 2. And sometimes you won't write your best post on Day 7. But often, in practices and races and life, the actual win isn't the finish line, the win happens when you choose to get uncomfortable and run through the sloggy part of life. You might not get a PR that day, but another deposit in the GRIT bank is its own reward.