Monday, September 29, 2014

Beyond My Limits

I want to be real for a sec... I'm tired. Ever since school has started, I just feel drained.

Over the past 8 months, I've been pushed to every possible limit I have. Physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, you name it. I've learned a lot about myself over this period of time though. Above all, I've learned that I am capable of more than the limits I place on myself.

I started running back in January. I've never really considered myself to be the athletic type and I've never really enjoyed running. Honestly, I hated running, with a burning passion. So it makes perfect sense for me to sign up for a running group right? That's exactly what I did, and that one decision changed the course of my life.

When I started, six miles seemed like such a far distance to run. I finished my first 10k (and my very first race) four months after signing up for that group. Not only did I finish the race, but I had under a nine minute pace. I surprised myself. That gave me motivation to try newer, and much more difficult things.

I registered for a GoRuck Challenge. GoRuck is an organization that sells backpacks and other various types of gear that are military quality to the general public. They also lead military-based endurance events. This challenge that I signed up for was one of them. I had no idea what the hell I was getting myself into. Pain... A lot of pain. That night was by far one of the most difficult and most painful nights of my life.

Let me give you a quick run down of what happened that night...

We started off in Washington Park at 9 p.m. on a Friday night (May 29th to be exact). For two to three hours straight, we did push-ups, and bear-crawls, and push-ups, and thrusters, and push-ups, and man-makers. Did I mention push-ups? And all while wearing a 30 pound pack. It. Was. Awful. From there we took to the streets of Downtown Cincinnati. We were ordered to do frog jumps for a whole block. Onlookers watched with amusement and curiosity. I was in pain.

You can't finish this. There's no way.

We ran some. If there was any more than an arm's length between any of us, we payed for the break. Lunges... Oh, so many lunges. We reached the Purple People Bridge and were there for a good 45 minutes or so doing additional exercises. We did push-ups there too. And flutter kicks. Eventually, we reached the Mt. Adams steps. It probably took us a good hour to reach the top of these damn steps. At one point, the guys leading us, the Cadre, asked us to face down the steps and do push-ups. How the hell... We couldn't get it right, so we had to bear-crawl back down the steps and hold a squatting position for 30 seconds. Then we bear-crawled back up those steps.

You can quit. You could be in bed right now, sleeping.

We reached the top. I was tired. We were only four hours in at this point though. I knew we still had at least 8 more hours left. It seemed like such a long time, especially under these conditions.

Can I finish?

We slashed our way through a couple thickets. We approached a field in Eden Park. The challenge - run to the bottom of the hill and form a security hold in 30 seconds. We failed. So we had to sprint back up the hill and do it again. And again. And again. I lost count of how many times we repeated that. I was tired.

Give up. Go home.

We spent a couple hours in that stupid field. We moved on. I forget all the other things we did along the way. There was so much. I was so tired and in so much pain. Then I saw the sunrise... Hope. There was hope. I could do this.

I finished.

That Challenge was, by far, one of the hardest things that I have ever completed. But I completed it. That's the point. There were so many times I wanted to give up and go home. I wanted to stop. But I didn't , and it was worth it. That night changed my life. I learned a lot about myself and a lot about the value of a team.

The greatest lesson I took away from that night was that you're capable of more than the limitations you or anyone else places on you and that a good team will help you overcome anything.

Since that night, my life has become something I never could have predicted. God's my Cadre though. He's much more gentle, but He pushes me to my limits and asks me to go further. He reminds me that He is my strength and that, with Him, I can go beyond any and every limitation I may encounter.

What exactly does this look like?

Well, I hated running. I love to run now. It's what energizes and excites me. And I make so many friends doing it.

That's another thing. I am naturally an introvert. When I was younger, I didn't talk to anyone. I talk to strangers all the time now, and I kinda enjoy doing it. I've made a few friends too.

I've always been scared of leadership positions. I help lead a running group now.

I placed these limitations on myself. God brought me to them and asked me to cross the thresholds. I obeyed. This obedience led me to great discomfort and ultimate transformation.

I always wonder what would have happened had I not signed up for that running group back in January? What would my life look like? Honestly, I can't say.

This is what God has been doing in my life over these past 8 months. I look at all these pictures, and I can't help but think There's so much more. These pictures don't do it justice. I can't adequately explain to you the change I've experienced this year. It's incredible. I'm thankful.

So, I'm chasing my limitations. I'm striving to cross them all. God's in the lead of course. I'm just following Him. He's inviting me to my limits and challenging me to go beyond them. This is going to be exciting. Hard, yes, but anything worth doing always is, right?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

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