Endurance has never been something that's come easily for me. Give me a quick sprint or a heavy lift and I'm in my element, but ask me to repeat those efforts over and over again, with little to no rest, and I quickly go from excelling to average at best... mediocre may be an even truer word.
Recently, on Tuesdays, I've been going to the track to run with one of the most naturally gifted "stamina athletes" I've ever trained with. She can hold my 100% effort pace with an ease that's almost unbelievable.
I wake-up with butterflies in my stomach on Tuesdays, knowing what's coming. As our training-hour nears, butterflies progress to what feels like a large flock of birds, sweaty palms, trouble focusing... I feel like I'm a freshmen in college, all over again, arriving to the women's basketball locker-room on an "individual workout" day only to find that the seniors have left a box of Pepto Bismol for us... their way of letting the underclassmen know that the session to come is going to be particularly brutal and that it would be smart to prepare ourselves with some pink Pepto. I can remember walking onto the court on those days, knowing that our coaches were going to make us as uncomfortable as possible for 45-minutes, and wishing for some way out of it. I didn't understand then, the opportunity for growth that I was being offered on those days... all I could think about was resisting or escaping the discomfort.... I was terrified of it.
Then, the sensation of being hammered and carved into felt like something that was threatening to end me... something I should run from. But now I know that sensation as something shaping and refining me... something to be leaned into.
On Tuesdays at the track I'm uncomfortable... and I'm quiet. Over and over and over again I'm making a choice to lean into the discomfort... I'm choosing to grow.
I stay quiet because I'm honest with myself there. In the quiet, I don't start belittling myself or the thing that's making me uncomfortable. I don't try to preserve my ego. I don't justify my way out of the discomfort. I don't try to escape.
In the quiet it's simply, "you're ok... do your best."
And at the end of it, I'm better than I was at the start.
I don't get this right every time. Sometimes the belittling wins... the ego wins... the justifications win... the escaping wins. But more and more I find myself leaning in... meeting discomfort, quietly, right where I am...
I choose to grow.