“If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” ~Thomas Edison
I ‘acquired’ this quote from The Fetch, a website that provides a lot of opportunities for stimulating interaction with others. Most recently I attended an event that had been posted on The Fetch by a group called the Melbourne Series. The topic was Climate Change and Innovation. Some of the dreams and blue sky thinking of the presenters was inspiring, yet there were moments when I found myself questioning or being slightly critical of some of their ideas. ‘That will never get off the ground’, ‘Where will the money come from?’, ‘How would that work in reality?’ etc. There is nothing wrong with turning a critical eye to ideas or concepts – it helps identify any weaknesses to fix and opportunities to maximise. However, I try to stop myself from the tall poppy aspect of criticising someone else’s idea or position because it is different to mine, as I hate it when it is done to me. At the end of the evening I spoke with a few of the presenters and left full of their infectious energy.
What right do I or anyone else have of stopping anyone being or doing anything they may be capable of? I love being astounded by the brilliance and creativity of a new style of dance, music or theatre; or seeing a technical innovation that delights me. I think the evolutionary leaps forward in technology, culture and society have often come from the actions of others who believed in themselves and relentlessly pursued what they felt they were capable of, regardless of the criticism of others. Think of Martin Luther King, Ghandi, Tim Berners-Lee, Leonardo Da Vinci, Usain Bolt.
And so it goes with running or any other personal fitness endeavour. We (and I say ‘I’ in that royal ‘we’) often hold ourselves back from feats that our body is capable of if we let it – physical limitations aside. No one else really knows the true extent of our capabilities. Only you know yours, and only I know mine. When others question my running goals, fitness efforts, and even diet and nutrition, it sometimes makes me question what I am capable of. It takes a conscious effort to remind myself that only I know what I can do, and even what I am possibly capable of.
During my run this morning – a short 6.7k run – I was not trying for a world beating record. It was pretty hot (34 degrees), so running in the shade as much as possible to keep my body temperature down was key. My aim was to clock my last km in approx 4:30. I had been doing a lot of extra weights work on my legs with lunges and heavier weights on the bar during pump classes, so my sprint work had been getting better. Moving around The Tan, I built up my pace km by km, starting a little over 6mins per km. When I was doing sub 5min kms approaching the last leg, I took a good, long sip of cool water and decided it was time to see what my body was capable of. Interestingly, I watched myself almost go out of body as I hit a great rhythm and focussed on the feeling of fluidity between arm movements, stride and breathing. Sweat was running down my face, neck, back and arms like I was in a downpour. As I hit my end destination I checked my time with a smile and a very long breath.
I astounded myself with a 3:43min km.