I was invited to workout at Ohio Stadium (aka "The Shoe") by my mentor, Kary Oberbrunner. I had received the invitation on Wednesday evening, and the workout would begin at 6:30am, the following morning. Not much notice! However, I couldn't turn down this opportunity to spend some time with my mentor, get a great workout, AND have a rare opportunity to workout in "The Shoe!"
It was early in the morning, so we were able to park inside the stadium, right next to the tunnel entering the field. After a few minutes of stretching, we started running the stairs. Up and down each row, across the entire lower level of the stadium. I was last one to start, so I was behind from the beginning. But as I fatigued, I ran each section a little slower than the previous one. The distance between the rest of the group and me, continued to grow.
As I looked up, the group of around a dozen men and a few women, were continuing to leave me behind. It was discouraging. And when I looked at how much more of the stadium I had left to go, it was even more discouraging! One thing was certain. I needed to finish! There was no one who could finish running the stadium for me. I would have to do it on my own! As much as I wanted to quit, I just couldn't! I needed to keep moving forward. I knew that if I didn't stop, I would finish...eventually!
I had to change my thoughts. This wasn't a race against anyone, but myself. I had to focus on one step at a time, and one set of stairs at a time. Up and down. Up and down. Up and down. My legs were burning!
Most of the group had already arrived to the field level, having completed the entire stadium. I still had about a quarter of the stadium left to go! Instead of worrying too much about that, I just continued on MY journey. I had to remind myself, that I had not done any kind of distance or endurance training in many years! I workout regularly, but this was definitely not my strong suit. Simply finishing, would be an accomplishment in itself!
Just like in life, there are no shortcuts! Just the consistently painful journey of advancement and progress. Adding fuel to the fire, we compare ourselves to others! This causes us get discouraged, just like I did, when looking up to see the rest of the group, far ahead.
Instead, we have to remind ourselves that we are all on a different journey! In this case, they may have been further ahead, because they've been working out like this much more than I have! We don't see the work that others put in to achieve their results. They may have more skills, talents, or abilities than we do, perhaps they work harder than we do, OR, they simply started sooner than we did! Either way, the only thing that matters, is that we make progress on our goals and our race. That's all we can control!
Keeping the attitude that this was my race, my journey, and my pace, helped to get me through. I felt accomplished to have finished it, and to have continued on to complete the core exercises that were awaiting me in the center of the field. As I stood on the playing field, I looked around in awe of the magnitude of this stadium that holds over 100,000 screaming fans on game day. I also looked proudly at those stairs that were now behind me.
Sure, my legs were shaking uncontrollably for most of the day. Sure, I'll be sore for the next few days. But, I feel good! I feel proud of myself! And, I want YOU to feel good about yourself, and feel proud of yourself as well. You can do this.
Run your race. Keep making progress. And most importantly, don't stop when you're tired, stop when you're done.
Hope you found some encouragement in this. Share your feedback in the comments below.
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PS. Congrats of reading the entire article! :-) Here's a bonus video for you that I recorded after the workout. Enjoy!