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I Am Stronger Than I Thought I Am


January 2013

Now, if you’re an English teacher reading that title, you’re more than likely shaking your head, lamenting the intelligence of the fit class.

If you’re in the fit class, you know darn good and well what that means.

I fought this reality just yesterday when my buddies English Pete and Aaron ran 10 miles but I cut my run to 8. Turning back early made perfect sense at the time… I wasn’t fully prepared or fueled to run yesterday but I figured I could gut out nine. When I got to Pete’s they were talking about doing eleven. If you know my friends, that means twelve or a half – I simply didn’t think had it in me to gut that out without the proper preparation.  Throw in the ridiculously cold temperature and wind that we ran in and it made even more sense.

Imagine my surprise after I turned around early, to find that not only could I finish but I could do so with plenty left in the tank.  The reality, of course, is that with wind chills at just four degrees (F), making certain that I could finish running far outweighed a desire to push it.  The ramifications involved in bonking yesterday were huge.  Heading out with the wind I knew I would be sweating a bit.  19 degrees is cold, but it’s not that cold.  However, heading back into the wind the temp drops from 19 to 4 degrees.  Walking for too far would have been dangerous.

Imagine my surprise when the Pete and Aaron came running around the corner just 17 minutes after I finished – they only went 10.  I could have done that.

Without getting too deep into the self-criticism weeds, I’m a lot stronger than I sometimes give myself credit for and yesterday proved that point.  I’m not into self-flagellation so I won’t be dwelling too deeply on this, in fact all things considered I’m quite certain that I did the right thing.  The occasion does need to be filed for future reference though.

The point is that I think many of us fitties are prone to believing we can’t run or ride as fast, or that we can’t make it as far, as we really can.  This isn’t a good or a bad thing, just food for thought.  I would have written this post yesterday after I finished but I was just too cold to type.


  1. IowaTriBob says:

    Completely agree with everything and its always surprising to see just how much further you can push yourself, although 4 degree weather isn’t the ideal place to test that kind of limit.

    • bgddyjim says:

      It wasn’t too bad, like I wrote, till I turned around. I hate that, good on the way out then freezing ass on the way back. I even thought I dressed properly.

      Thanks for commenting brother.

  2. Sandra says:

    Right on. I always sell myself short. Years ago my dad gave me a poem called “Don’t Be Afraid To Fail.” I should read that more often.

  3. That’s some pretty good motivation to get out there in the first place! I was sort of in the same boat a few days ago. I was halfway through a 4 hour ride with my teammate and he wanted to push it for the final two hours. I didn’t really think I could and after a bit I let him get ahead. But then out of nowhere I was just able to go so much harder than I thought I could.

    It was just a wake up call that we can really go beyond our perception of our abilities.

    Great post!

  4. elisariva says:

    So true! The hardest battles are fought in the mind. (Throw in the committee and it really gets bad)

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