Limits Belong to You

Limits. Who made up that word up anyway?

My dictionary defines a limit as, “The final, upmost or furthest boundary as to extent, amount, continuance, procedure, etc.”

Broken Fence

Image Credit: Steve

Synonyms include: cap, cutoff point, edge, extremity, goal, termination, the most, tops, utmost.

Experimenting With My Limits

Only in the last couple of years have I spent much time wondering about the word and what it means. Two years ago I began climbing some of Colorado’s 14ers — the peaks reaching higher than 14,000 feet in elevation. This summer my son and I are on track to reach our 18th, and possibly 20th if we push later into the season.

The limits of my own endurance were tested when I began this hiking journey and establishing my 10 year goal of all 58 (or 54, depending your list source) of reaching all of them. This year, however marks a slow down in my annual pace, but it doesn’t mean I’m not seeking my endurance limit.

Earlier this summer I made a commitment to help raise funds so that families in Rwanda can have access to clean water. Through Team World Vision and running in the Denver Rock’N’Roll Half Marathon, I am currently training for a 13.1 mile run in October this year.

30 Years Later — A New Reason to Test Limits

It’s been more than 30 years since I ran any long distance course or race. I quietly vowed after that season of my young life I would never try jogging again! I convinced myself human beings weren’t meant to jog! We are built to either walk or sprint. Get around at the speed of a nice walk or sprint to save our lives. In my case I discovered sprinting was something I did well and for the next number of years I did pretty well as track runner and running back in football while in school.

So as I began training for this half marathon, I probably didn’t know I had it in me. I had a hint from last year when I, my son Brandon and friend Eric took off on an epic hiking day a little too late in the morning but for 16 hours endured uphill, climbing and scaling, along with hours of rocky downhill navigating eventually without water in the nearly pitch black. And we loved it.

Here’s a view of one such spot where our limits were tested. IMG_3194

It’s one of my favorite moments ever of Brandon and me. The first one is what we had to do: get up the shelf just beyond my left shoulder. Brandon almost couldn’t do it. He hesitated and said he was afraid. His limit was just about reached — his emotional limit and physical will to overcome it. I wasn’t far removed from where he was (emotionally). In fact after I saw him get up the shelf as you can see in the second photo, I had the nerve to do it too. We were a team and I was very proud of him in that moment!IMG_3195

Half Marathon Training Limits

So going into this half marathon, I had an idea of limits. But last year I was doing something I truly love and find rich reward in. Running? I have never found such fulfillment in doing it. That is, not until this year. I began interval training on my own back in the winter on my treadmill and when the weather permitted, outside.

Then this opportunity showed up. I remember when I would be running, I couldn’t get the image of getting across the finish line out of my mind. I thought of the good raising money to get clean water to those who need would do and I felt compelled to commit. And when the opportunity to register for the race and create an account for Team World Vision and our church arrived, I did it.

After paying the money to register for the race and signing on with TWV, it became that much more real for me. I saw the training calendar, but this year I also committed to climbing, so I made my own version of training. I would run Tuesday through Thursday mornings, resting before and after my Sunday hikes. I’ve now done this for three weeks.

This past week, I broke through another barrier: I ran for over 8 and a half miles on Wednesday morning! I made the decision as I began the second leg of the 6.3 miles I had established with the circuit I run in my neighborhood. I would run the 2 miles again. I checked in with my body: lungs felt good; feet doing well; quads were getting tired, and I knew my quads would be getting the most impact from all the running, but they were holding up.

Could I make it past 8 miles? I discovered that yes, I could! A new limit was tested and I found out where I could go. And I know this will happen again as I extend the distance for the training.

Where are Your Limits?

What about you? Have you tested your endurance limits? Do you know where they are? I’m not talking about just physical, because I’ve learned emotional and mental limits go hand in hand with physical limits. It’s like you can’t test yourself physically and not test yourself emotionally and mentally. I dare you to try and find where your limits are — and then go beyond them.

Dig Deep!

This is me just after the 8.7 miles:

This video produced by Team World Vision shares a lot of how I feel while getting myself ready.

And here’s my latest progress on donations – a special thank you to those who’ve already done so!