Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Mile Time Trial

"If I were to wish for anything I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of what can be, for the eye, which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating as possibility." - Kierkegaard

(As quoted in The Art of Possibility: Transforming Personal and Professional Life)

The alarm goes off at 5:30 am. Your first feeling is irrational fear. Your first conscious thought is "I don't want to do this."

But, just as you've done hundreds of times before, You.Get.Up.

You start the coffee pot, quickly dress, grab that cup of joe and a trusty PB&J, take one last long look at yourself in the mirror, and head to the track, where your coach awaits.

During your long supposed-to-be-slow 30 minute warm-up, your legs are already feeling a little tired. The tiny aches that have been simmering under the surface all week now feel crippling. Your heart rate seems unusually high and seeds of panic take root. The devil on your shoulder starts to say, "You can't do this today. Just call it off. Why are you going to put your self through this? What's the point?"

But, now it's time. The irrational fear has grown significantly, but you try to mask it by casually saying to your coach, "Oh, I'm a little nervous."

And then, you're off! Coach reminds you that this your opportunity to experience what lies beyond the threshold - your true capacity.

Our biggest fear is not that we are inadequate.....

The first two laps feel quick, real quick. You deliberately don't look at your watch and instead just try focus on turnover. The challenge feels so mental. The little devil pipes up again and you feel doubt. This is definitely faster than you've gone before. How can you possibly keep this up for two more laps?

A new feeling of panic is high in your chest at the start of the third lap. Rounding the second turn, you audibly groan "Oh, God." But then, lap four starts and you just have to hang on.

The fourth lap is a blur - just Don't.Give.Up you keep repeating. And amazingly enough, you don't. Instead, you cross the line and are shocked by the reading on your watch. You've just gone faster - significantly faster - than ever before.

Now, you KNOW. Your world, your limitations, your potential have shifted. And the next time the alarm goes off at 5:30 and you head out the door, you will think "I wonder what's possible today."