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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Survive or Thrive?

I(Written Aug 24, 2009)

According to Merriam-Webster.com
thrive

1 : to grow vigorously : flourish
2 : to gain in wealth or possessions : prosper
3 : to progress toward or realize a goal despite or because of circumstances —often used with on<thrives on conflict>

My old football coach used the expression "survive or thrive," and it has always stuck in my head.

I was our running this afternoon behind Squires Castle. There are three ways to the top, two somewhat gradual, one that is far from gradual, I ran the odd ball. My goal heading in was four laps as fast as possible, up the steep section and down the gradual hill.

I started off working my way from the far parking lot, getting a mini warm-up. Just getting loose from squatting the day before and getting mentally prepared for the challenge. I got to the back of the castle, set my play-list in my ipod and took off... sort of. The "take off: probably lasted 20 seconds tops! That thing is A) crazy with tree roots and B) waaay more steep than you think. As you start off, there is a mini hill right away loaded with roots, which isn't that bad but you definitely have to watch your step. Then you veer right and head down a few feet than up probably another 20 feet or so... and now the lungs start to shrink up a bit. Maybe another 20 yards of running and I had to stop.... literally barely breathing and quads getting a bit numb.

I looked up to see how much further... and that was the hardest part. The most intimidating section of the whole hill. If its damp, you absolutely need to have tree roots near by to grab or your going down. I gave myself a minute rest, than slowly trotted to the top, totally winded again. Once I got there, getting down was pretty easy.... but that was lap #1..

The next lap was pretty much the same. I started so-so, took a 30 second break, once at the half way point and once at the top and coasted back down.

Half way through, my more motivational music started to play more frequently and I started thinking... "I'm half-assing this! I'm literally just trying to get through... just trying to not die... just going through the motions." And that's when that voice came in my head, "Are you hear to just survive? Or are you to THRIVE?" And that was all I needed to finish one of the best solo experiences I've had in a long time. Pearl Jam's "Alive," was on my player and I tore up that hill like never before. Straight up, no break, no pause, no hesitation for footing, just gone. Sure, I thought I was going to die at the top... literally, I couldn't breathe and I was gasping for air.  But I kept walking, quads on fire, just focusing on regaining my breathe. Got it back probably 30-45 seconds later and I was off for the last lap.

Rounded the corner, changed to "Porch," and repeated the same lap! Looking back on it once it was over, it was one of those moments where all thoughts are gone, the only thing in my head was "GO, GO, GO!" and celebrate at the top... and now lets do it again just because I can.

It was an awesome challenge for me because I'm not a cardio guy. It's tough for me to go out and run anything more than 5 miles or so, partially because it's boring to me and partially because I've never focused on becoming good at it. So this challenge was a combination that I could get into. I knew it would be awesome for my lungs, awesome for leg power, awesome to be doing outdoors, and an awesome mental challenge to not quit and not just do it to "survive." Try to keep that in mind the next time your working out, or running, or swimming or biking or anything... it could probably translate over into anything in life. Office work, school work, meetings, coaching... are you just doing whatever you're doing to just "get through it," or are you attacking it and improving it? I'm real corny with quotes and one-liners and I'm going to print out merriam-websters definition of thrive. To grow vigorously, to progress toward a goal despite the circumstances...
despite the circumstances... I like that.

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