Any race requires endurance. It’s great to get a quick start and jump out in the lead but the person who wins is generally the one who hangs back and let’s their competition beat themselves. The old fairy tale is true, it’s generally the tortoise that wins, not the hare.
I think that explains why I’ve felt the way I have for the last couple of weeks. I’ve reached the point in the Paleo race where endurance is required, not tenacity, and that can be a hard thing. All of the strength and power you’ve used to muscle past the problems is gone and you’re left feeling drained. Temptation is just so easy to give into. You know better but you get the worst result.
I know this feeling, I’ve felt it before. This is the wall I always hit. I’m just kind of half-surprised it took this long to get there. And with this wall is the decision I’ve resolved to make differently this time. In the past I’ve sat down at the bottom, ate a Snickers bar, and gave up. This time though I have to keep climbing, I feel like I don’t really have a choice any more. It makes absolutely no sense to go back to the life I used to live a year ago; 20 lbs. heavier and directionless. This is the part of the marathon when you start to see the other runners falter and you sense your moment of victory. I need to reach down and find that previously inaccessible place where the extra is stored and use it to push over the wall. There’s no magic trick, no mind hack, no 10 step list that will lift you up and push you over the wall. You need to grip every brick, find every precarious handhold until you’re up and over.
Right now, I’m still looking at the wall and trying to assess it. The good news is that I didn’t bring my Snickers bar with me this time. I know I can’t fail, I won’t fail. I just need to understand up until this point I’ve been running on adrenalin and euphoria. Now is the tough time that I need to work through until the adrenalin comes back. I just need to keep pushing, keep going, until the rhythm comes back and I’m feeling good again.
Slow and steady wins the race.
Time to hunker down and be a turtle.