Before you could see pretty much anywhere on earth via Google maps — way before — map makers would write “here be dragons” for unexplored lands/seas. I’ve always loved that phrase!
How far can you go?
For many years I’ve wondered what lies beyond 13.1 miles (or maybe 14.1, because sometimes I do a warm up mile before a half). I’ve thought about just going out and running a longer long run after a race, just taking my time, stopping to eat and drink whenever I wanted to, because there’s literally no race (or reason to rush).
Of course I never did. I know some runners just love running long for the sake of running long, but for the sane runners, why would you spend hours running when you didn’t have to?
In every person’s life, there comes a time . . .
. . . when they need more: more challenge, more daring, more than the “norm”. Being a cautious runner, I wasn’t ready for a marathon. But I finally decided that I needed to find out what dragons were waiting for me after 13.1 miles.
Maybe I’d become too “comfortable” running halfs (not that it ever feels comfortable, mind you). Maybe I subconsciously knew that my body was ready for something more — or at least I hope it is. My training has gone well, as well as it can in such a humid summer; my longer long runs were definitely challenging, but I bounced back quickly.
As you read this, though, I have not yet tackled that longer race. It’s this Sunday. I know that barring a heatwave or an injury I will run 18.12 miles. There is a time limit for this race, though.
Again, barring an insanely hot day or injury, I know that I should be able to run the race within the time limit. I also know that’s it’s close enough, for me, to be challenging. There are two points during the race that if you are not on track to finish in the allotted time you’ll be swept (and I don’t even know where those are!).
They don’t call it a Challenge for nothing, though.
Some people are comfortable being comfortable
I won’t lie — that is me, most of the time. If I really wanted to be uncomfortable? I’d tackle that marathon. I’m not getting any younger. It would have to be a damn good marathon, though — great swag, no time limit (or a very generous one), and especially not during the summer.
I can say without hesitation at the moment that training for a longer race has not whetted my appetite for a marathon. Quite the opposite. I also know that things have a way of changing, sometimes, when we cross that finish line. Sometimes months after we cross that finish line.
It’s funny how doing something harder can plant the seeds of change.
Growth only happens outside our comfort zone
One of the things I know for sure is that we have to continually grow and take risks that scare us — all through our lives. It’s not easy, and it’s definitely not something that comes easily to me. It’s absolutely easier to keep things status quo and not rock the boat (or tackle the unknown distance where the dragons are waiting for you).
I hope that next week I will tell you that I slayed this particular dragon. I know it won’t be easy. I also don’t know what dragon I’ll need to slay next; I just know that there will always be another dragon. It’s what makes life interesting and exciting (and sometimes tiring!).
Talk to me:
Do you feel as though you’ve gotten too comfortable in your life?
When has doing something outside your comfort zone paid off big for you?
What dragons are you looking forward to slaying?