May 17, 2012
A personal trainer is simply a euphemism for inviting someone into your life to push you to meet your potential.
This morning, with an hour of "down time" in front of me, I set out on my run in Central Park at a pretty fast clip (around 7:30 minutes per mile pace)–and of course, I didn’t expect anyone to pass me based on that.
Lo and behold, though, about halfway into the run, my daydream about my impending visit to Baltimore to see a certain someone was interrupted by the lurking shadows of two tall, skinny Runner Boys (as I call those shirtless ones). Suddenly they were upon me. Of course, my burning pride forced me to try to keep up with them, but their pace was hovering around the 6:30/mile mark so I started slacking off pretty quickly. I just didn’t feel like running that fast. Or at least that's what I told myself.
But then: “Come on, come with us!” beckoned the taller of the two.
“You’re going to kick my ass,” I huffed, already experiencing that generalized inner burn bordering on barf that accompanies extremely intense physical activity. But I went along anyway, and for the next mile ran about as fast as I ever have in my life. By the time we parted ways, they’d convinced me that I could do a marathon much faster than my 3:30 PR; that I should’ve signed up for the Brooklyn half on Sunday; and that I would train with them in coming days.
I’ve not felt that physically invigorated in a long time.
That also has to be this week’s Lesson For Leanne. I have made excuses for months about not training with the running coach and team I used to work out with, my beloved Adobos, which had propelled me to a level of running I was really excited about and proud of. This is because there are always handy excuses to find to avoid doing something sometimes physically unpleasant, like taking your fitness to the next level. These is my own personal store of excuses for why I don’t run with Coach Jud and the Adobo club anymore:
-I just opened a fitness studio after all
-I’m too busy and can’t make the time
-I prefer to run on my own schedule, instead of waiting around to run with others
-I don't like running at night, when the team runs, preferring the mornings,
-I’d rather listen to my body on a daily basis and do what it tells me to, rather than follow a prescribed workout/speedwork/etc. regiment
But the truth is…really it’s that I’m scared when I am up against someone(s) who is “better” than me. It’s intimidating, and for me even frightening. I'm also afraid to tap into my potential, ironically thinking I will never get there and measure up...whatever that means anyway. None of these thoughts really even make sense if I parse them, but they're there impeding me nonetheless.
I thought about this long and hard and here’s what I came up with: in every single aspect of life and with every single person, there is always going to be someone better. By a lot. This holds true even for supermodels and sports stars. No one has it all. So we can give in to defeat…or take the attitude that if you want to get better at virtually anything, train with someone who is better than you.
This might sound simplistic, but it does apply to almost everything: instead of succumbing to insecurities (a.k.a., unhealthy competition with the office over-achiever or fear that you’ll never be as good at your job as she is), learn from the people around you who are really good at what they do. Ultimately, this is a long way of answering the question I posed in the headline: we are all SO much stronger than we think, and a personal trainer is simply a euphemism for inviting someone into your life to push you to meet your potential.