Don’t be afraid of “hard”

That's not me. But she's pretty awesome, isn't she? Photo credit: Lululemon Athletica

Last week, I promised (or threatened, depending on how you feel about workout stories) to report on my Adventure Boot Camp experience. I completed my first week intact and am now inching my way through Week 2. It’s hard. But it’s good. But it’s so hard. But that’s good.

My neighbor just ran his first marathon. Before the event, we talked about it. He told me that marathon runners he knows say that there’s life before you run a marathon, and life after. Something changes when you take on such a massive challenge. Something opens up that couldn’t have opened up any other way.

I got so excited for him — perhaps a little too excited because I stole the focus of our conversation and started blabbing about my time in Boot Camp. How I’m doing something I never considered doing, never believed I could do. How I’ve shied away from hard most of my life, and how I’ve shortchanged myself in the process.

I came to my senses eventually and got back to the topic at hand — he was about to run a marathon! — and I listened to him talk about his training, and how, even though he was prepared, there was no way to know what would happen on the day of the race. I admired his courage, and his willingness to try.

The next day, I chatted with his wife, and immediately we began comparing the marathon to the physical challenge of childbirth. Not the before kids/after kids moment (which is HUGE) but the before-and-after of going through the childbirth process. The pure physicality of it, the not knowing what will happen, the fear, on some level.

Childbirth left me with a sense of “I can handle this.” “If I can go through childbirth, I can handle X.” I’ve said this to myself so many times in the last 12 years, and, most of the time, it has been true.

I’m starting to feel that again as I go through Boot Camp. I’ve never been this physically challenged. I don’t think I’ve ever been this bone-tired. I’m hitting my limits, but they’re farther out than I thought they were. I’m starting to realize that many of the things I “can’t” do are really things I don’t want to do, or am scared to do.

My friend ran the marathon. He made it all the way to the end. He did it.

This is the gift of doing something really hard. You discover you can do it. You discover you’re strong.

What’s something you’re curious about, but are sure is “too hard?”

This post is the second in my four-part series about taking a fitness boot camp class. If you’d like to read more, here’s Part 1Part 3, and Part 4.