Never Quit No Matter How Hard
This weekend Karen and I took a train-cation. For those of you who do not know, that is a trip away from home where you go to train. Boxers go on train-cations all the time as they prepare for their next bout.
While we were away I tackled the largest climb I have ever faced, even larger than California I believe. It was part of a 2 hour 13 minute ride I was on and the entire time I kept thinking that I could stop now and who would know. The answer was: I will. Those that read the posts on this site are not the ones that are going to deal with the sheer guilt of having quit. They are not the ones who are going to deal with the fight I am undergoing in the middle of a 70.3 race when my legs will feel like taking another step may result in them just falling off. They are not the ones who will come home to answer Karen’s question of ‘How was the ride?’
I was the one who was going to face those scenarios and with that in mind I plugged away and with every turn of the crank I got further and further up the climbs and little did I know I got closer and closer to cycling heaven. Had I quit and turned around at this point, nobody would have blamed me, but I also would have missed the pure enjoyment of open road-no traffic riding.
It was about 10 minutes after this climb that I hit a flat section that was clear and fast. I was able to turn my legs using the big ring. I smiled wide and yelled ‘Whoooo!!!!! This is what all that pain and suffering was for’ I just kept on going and at one point forgot that Karen asked me to be back in 2 hours. I was just enjoying myself and thinking of how difficult that climb was. How my quads were burning. How I was basically pulling that bike up the hill. How all those people in the cars going by me were thinking ‘Fool!’
But in the end I did it. I conquered and did not quit.
Later that night I went on a lactate threshold run. My goal was to put in 3.85-4.05 miles in 30 minutes. That would have been pushing it especially after a long day and also the 2 hour ride. In the first 0.5 miles my lungs were burning and I was dripping sweat. It was 90+ degrees out, humid and thick like pea soup with wind and hills.
Again, the idea that I could slow my pace down and enjoy a 30 minute run wandered into my head but I thought about reaching my goals. I thought about the #THINKSPEED project. I thought about how my legs were barely responding during the half-marathon portion of California. How I told my coach I wanted to get faster on the run off the bike.
I pushed and I huffed and I plugged along. I got to so many points where the bile would enter my throat but I forced it back down. I was not going to have any excuses for not hitting my goals. I was not going to quit on myself.
When the finish line showed up on the horizon I pushed and pushed. I knew I was close but I wasn’t sure how close I was to my goal distance. Once I hit the car I stopped my watch, looked down and then jumped up and down as if I had just won Kona.
I ran 3.972 miles in 30 minutes. I was fired up. I was excited. I was ready to do anything and all because I did not quit. All because I fought the demon excuses in my head.
And a funny thing happened as I walked into our room. I forgot all about how difficult the start of the run was.
My point in this post is that quitting is easy. Quitting seems like a good answer at the time but then the guilt sets in that you quit. The rationale that you had for quitting becomes irrational after you have quit.
You all entered the endurance sports world with some sort of goal and you did not stop until you got there or are still working your way there but at no point did the word ‘quit’ enter into why you were doing your first endurance event. You went into it to lose weight, to make friends, to prove that you could do it. It was not to quit but to succeed.
Even when it seems like what you are doing is impossible, just remember that within moments you will think to yourself that wasn’t so bad and I can go further, I can go faster, I can be better.
Quitting is an excuse to give up on your dreams. Would the kid in you be happy that you quit on your dreams? I would think not so why quit? Why let that 4 letter word enter your vocabulary?