Dig Deep

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You’re physically spent, can’t move anymore. Can’t find the motivation to take on that task/challenge/whatever it is. Now what?

My husband is training for a 5K race (a 3.2 mile run). In preparation he goes for long runs, and I sometimes go with him.

To build up endurance, we go on a running trail and sprint as fast as we could. Or he does. Most of the time. That builds stamina, and it also puts us in a nice amount of pain.

A few days back, halfway through the last sprint, my legs and lungs were crying for mercy. I was sure my body could not run a single more step. Just as I was about to slow into a walk, a pair of runners zoomed right past. Pride kicked in, and somehow I found the strength to run. 

That moment spurred a great deal of reflection. I had felt sure I was physically spent, but then found strength I didn’t know I possessed. My mind had lied to me.

The scientific explanation goes something like this: Our deep reserves of strength are guarded by a brain that would rather maintain the status quo than take us to the next level. This goes back to basic survival. Back to the time when conserving energy kept us alive.

That was our brain’s job.

But nowadays, since we have the basic necessities, we can afford to turn our focus elsewhere. If health isn’t a concern, of course.

Show the brain who’s boss.

Dig deep. The expression always made me think of mining — really making the effort to get to the good stuff. The gold.

Have you ever come to a wall (physically, mentally, emotionally), yet found a way to move forward?

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Photo courtesy: www.shropshirecmc.org.uk

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12 responses to “Dig Deep

  1. Great post, Sylvia. I experienced this when I was rehabbing from a knee joint replacement and my drill sergeant of a physical therapist pushed me to the wall and beyond. I swam competitively when I was young and met the wall on a regular basis, but it gets a lot harder to get beyond as you get older!

  2. First, huzzah for you and your husband as you train for a run I wouldn’t dream of attempting. Hope it goes well!

    For me, I have to dig deep when I sense a wave of pain and/or depression coming over me. Migraines and depression are great fast friends. I roll with the pain but the digging deep part comes in distracting the depression. Writing and sewing are usually successful. Finding joy in small things, laughing at mistakes–are also part of digging deep.

    Let me know how the run goes? Susan Kane

  3. Fantastic Sylvia! Amazing that there are reserves we didn’t know we had! Yes, I hit brick walls from time to time. There is no point in wishing them away but knowing that ‘this too will pass’ helps, not that I’m aware of this at the time. But overcoming ‘the battle’ is wonderful.
    The comments from Susan Kane and Noelle are great.
    Terrific post thank you.

  4. My daughter and I ran a 1/2 marathon the year I turnd 60 ( yeah, scary,eh?) and believe me I hit the wall on several occasions esp. when we were training. Like you, I was always amazed how big a part the mind plays. Super kudos to you and your hubby. I’m sure he appreciates the company and support!

    • A half marathon, Patricia? I’m super impressed. I’ve always wanted to do one (or the whole thing, God forbid), but never found the nerve/stamina. Go girl! What an awesome birthday gift, and to celebrate that with your daughter no less.

  5. YES! This is a great analogy, and a great example. Thanks for this bit of inspiration today, Silvia :)

  6. We don’t know what we can do until we push ourselves. Learned to tell my brain to shut up a while ago haha

  7. Great post and kudos for doing the running. We have to push ourselves to test the boundaries. I need to do that more in my writing. You’ve inspired me so thanks :)

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