Last night, as I glided along the beach path staring off over the Pacific Ocean, I was hit in the face, hard. Luckily it wasn’t a seagull surprise and fortunately it was figuratively not literally. I was in the midst of my weekly long run, an hour and a half in, when I hit the wall. For those who may not know, the wall is the sudden loss of energy accompanied by extreme fatigue when the body switches from burning glycogen to burning fat. My wall last night was a drastic change from a 6:50 pace down to a 7:30 pace in a matter of seconds.
I have a love-hate relationship with the wall. When it occurs during training, I absolutely love it. It gives me a chance to further push my limits and increase my pain threshold. I have always believed that people rarely show how strong they truly are. I believe the wall presents a perfect opportunity to explore one’s strength. There are many sayings about the topic and my favorite is from motivational speaker Eric Thomas: “Don’t cry to quit, you already in pain, you already hurt, get a reward from it.” I am in love with the idea of learning from pain.
Pain has taught me so much throughout my life. On Sunday, I will be introducing a four part series on elemental motivations for running. During this series, I will be touching on some of the most painful moments of my life and how much they have taught me. Pain and the wall teach me about myself and the amount of pain I am able to handle. When I battle the wall during training, it instills confidence for being able to handle it during races. In life, walls allow me to realize that I have always been able to overcome challenges in the past and the future will be no different.
Though walls are not necessarily desirable, they serve an important purpose. Randy Pausch put it best: “Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want something badly enough. They are there to keep out the other people.” I often think of this during my races and will with absolute certainty think of this during Ironman St. George. Every athlete goes through some form of pain during a competition. For me, it will be a matter of managing that pain and seeing how badly I want my Kona slot. My challenge to you this week is to identify your walls in life and in training and develop your means to break through them.
Always in Stride,
Quote of the Week: “Don’t cry to quit, you already in pain, you already hurt, get a reward from it.” – Eric Thomas
Song of the Week: Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen
Video of the Week: One of the Most Famous “Wall Hits”