Running into the unreasonable 103-degree inferno, something inside me finally snapped.
I’m an advocate for consistency, but sometimes, you need to commit absolutely to shattering the status quo. Slow and steady can be a crutch. We hold ourselves back. We limit our risk of failure while sacrificing the opportunity for unreasonable results.
I’ve been consistently compiling miles this year. 10 days into August, I’m at 778 miles for the year, already 100 beyond last year. But it’s been a slow, plodding, and often emotional struggle against former glory. My breakthrough came when I committed to something so unreasonable and so far outside my comfort zone that it shocked my system to a different level.
After grinding 28 miles in the unforgiving Florida sun over the last two days, and more than 70 miles in the last 10 days, something finally broke on today’s run. Except, this breaking was different. The governor in my mind shut off. The aches and fatigue dissolved. The mental strain behind each step disappeared.
In a fashion forgotten these last 23 months since knee surgery, my body wrested control from my mind. It switched into autopilot as my legs mechanically carried me forward, my mind free to wander. Even the heat, the wicked heat that initially struck me with dread when I started my run, become a negligible afterthought.
A few years ago, running 50 miles in a week would be a good week. Right now, it’s insanity! My body has not been tested in this way in a long time. But, when we test ourselves, we allow ourselves to strip away the excess in pursuit of our most perfect selves. I’ve experienced this multiple times in the last annual Vol-State, a 314-mile race across Tennessee in mid-July.
The first day, you run on adrenaline. The second day, you’re fatigued but still excited. The third day, your mind and body are thoroughly whipped. Then, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, you rise on the fourth day rejuvenated and ready to run. The most celebrated victories are those following your hero’s descent into Hades and rising up on the other side.
This phenomenon is not just for runners. This is my seventh straight day of writing and publishing a blog post, as many as I’ve published all year. I’ve thrown caution to the wind to see what I’m capable of. I feel as if I’m breaking through and pouring my authentic self into these words, trusting my instincts to carry me through.
Can I maintain this level of effort forever? No, but I’ve reached a new vantage point of the world as the climb has left me levels above where I started. A new normal. A new equilibrium.
And, I look forward to the soft, mechanical bouncing of one foot after the other as they effortlessly carry me forth into the great unknown of possibilities.