How to Keep Going When You’re Just About to Quit
I ran the SF Urbanathlon with Sarah yesterday in a relay team. It was my first time doing this type of race where you not only have to run, but you have to conquer obstacles along the way. I was given the first leg which was 4.3 miles, had steep hills, and some police barride jumping and stutter stepping through tires involved.
I’ll recap more on the actual experience later, with pictures and everything, but today I want to talk to you about pushing yourself to your limits.
Yesterday was tough. The race started pretty much immediately with us Urbanathletes running up Telegraph hill all the way to Coit Tower. Now, let me tell you…it wasn’t just a hill, it was like SEVEN SUPER STEEP HILLS on a hill. OMG. I kid you not when I say I was probably running up a crazy steep incline for like 20 minutes straight.
My only goal when entering the race (courtesy of Sarah inviting me) was to NOT STOP RUNNING. That was my goal for my first Disney Half Marathon in September and my Nike Women’s Half in October. But as soon as I got halfway up my first hill I had a thought of stopping to walk. San Fran hills are BRUTAL. There were people around me who had already stopped to walk. My legs were burning and my quads were on fire. It looked so tempting…It was so easy to just say “hey take it easy”. I fought with myself for about 6 seconds and decided “no, let’s just finish your first hill at least.” So I kept moving.
The hills kept coming at me…steeper and steeper every time! In order to even stay upright and moving, I was basically leaning forward like MJ in Smooth Criminal…
…while running!!! No iPods were allowed either in the race so all I could hear was my heavy breathing and everyone else’s panting and grunts. Not exactly the most motivating sounds in the world.
I kept going and going, even though my strides started getting smaller and smaller. I told myself, conquer this battle one moment at a time. Keep breathing, inhale through the nose and out through the mouth. Instead of looking at the top of the hills each time, I looked at the ground in front of me and took it step by step. I knew I had reached the top once my quads began to feel relief.
I repeated this process over and over for every hill. I kept telling myself – you will not stop. This is only one race. One day. When will you ever do this again? If I am gonna torture myself, I’m gonna torture it good. I’m gonna fight through the pain. I bit my tongue and maybe even swore a little under my breath to get myself through!
I told myself that this was an awesome workout. I would not let me fail me in my one and only goal of NOT STOPPING. There was a burning desire inside of me to stick to my goal. There was no way anyone or anything would get in my way…I was gonna keep moving as much as it pained me.
I concentrated hard. I always tell my students that the mind is more powerful than the muscle and that you can do anything you want as long as you tell yourself you can. So, I kept encouraging my muscles that they could do this. That they were strong. I even picked up a little pace when I did this. Motivating yourself to drive hard is what makes you succeed. And I’m talking all aspects of life too.
So before I knew it…I was on top of Coit tower looking down at the bay and the beautiful city of San Francisco through the lush pine trees. It was a glorious feeling of sweaty pride. Lasted 2 seconds as I drank my water cup up there. Then I was off again. Flying down hill. Fun times ahead…
I hope that gave you a little insight into what goes in my head when I am about to quit and how I keep myself motivated. You really have to focus on your end goal…know it, want it, believe it, and if you desire it badly enough, you will do everything you can to get there. I promise. Be strong and know what you want. And DO NOT let anything get in your way.