I have looked at this quote a hundred times, and even though it resonates with me, I just don't think I really got it. But for some reason today when I was looking through the remaining options of calendar pages to write about, this just hit me so simply and clearly. I think it might be safe to say that all of my run training has been in service to pushing back the limits of my mind. I think initially the run training was exposing the limits, and once they were front and center then the work of challenging those limits came in to play.
Honest to god running is secondary to the actual work I'm doing. The work I'm doing is the most important work of all--which is the work of strengthening my mind. I am building a clear, strong mind. It's not just about running, it's never been just about becoming a better runner, even though that matters a great deal to me! It just so happens that running is the way in which the lessons are being taught and the holes are being exposed.
All I saw and all I knew when I started training six years ago were limits. Sometimes the limits presented as self doubt--extreme self doubt. Sometimes the limits presented as fears. Sometimes they were smarmy and presented as the reasonable, logical, sensible path. And sometimes the limits showed up in my attitude. Whatever the delivery method, they came through in running and it illuminated for me how those limits were hiding everywhere in my life.
At the Endeavorun running camp a new friend and I were paired up together during a workshop and we were asked to talk about something we want and what's getting in the way. Mine, of course, was about the long run. We were checking back in with each other today about how we've been doing since camp, and she suggested going back and thinking about the reason I run, which was a great idea. When I started it was because I was training with my coach and I wanted to lose weight and started me on a running plan. It quickly switched to I want to see if I can run without stopping; then it became can I run a 5K; then it became can I run this 5K faster than the last one? Soon it was what else can I do? Then it was how far can I go? And, funny enough, now it's what are my actual limits?
Limits and challenging limits and breaking perceived limits have been part of my running and training lexicon from day one, and I don't think I was really even aware of it. My blog is called No Limits, for heavens sake. This has always been about pushing back limits, so no wonder the challenges keep getting bigger and more nuanced. I think as they do get bigger I need to acknowledge having already pushed those limits far beyond where they were when I started. I would not have been able to push anything back at that starting point. I didn't even know that I could and I didn't know how to start. I needed help. I needed support. I needed a map. I needed some gear. Luckily, all of those things showed up and I am in an entirely new place pushing on to grander places than I could have imagined.
I'm so grateful to my coach for so gently and firmly pushing me out to run. My running expanded the limits of my mind, and now it's time to push those new "limits". Our minds are malleable. Those limits are not set in stone. I want to see how far I can go. And that's why I run.