Discipline over Comfort

Think back to when you first signed up for CrossFit.  It was exhilarating because it was something new, something a little bit scary, and you were doing it!  You finally got up the guts to step up to the challenge, even when some people probably told you it was crazy — even dangerous.  “What do they know?” you asked.  It looks fun!
When you were younger, I bet the same pattern applied to you as it did to me.  We used to reach out for things that were scary or at least outside of our current “world.”  Go pick up that snake in the yard.  Try out for a sports team you have no business making.  Rappel off your friend’s roof.  Well maybe that one was just me… in a Ninja Turtles costume no less!
All of these things could have negative consequences, and we understood that going in but we went ahead anyway because we were confident that the positive consequences would be greater — namely that our experience level would be expanded.  “Now I know I can do that!”  And it would be fun!
Just about three years ago, I signed up for SEALFIT Kokoro, a 3-day version of Navy SEAL training “Hell Week” that is arguably the toughest endurance event in the world, and the same pattern held true.  I knew that there could be negative consequences.  Had I known that two classes after me someone would die, would that have changed my mind?  I don’t think so, because I was that fired up about the positive consequences that would come about — the experience of succeeding where others had failed, and the resulting springboard of confidence that would allow me to succeed in any other challenge that came my way.
Fast forward to last winter, when a friend asked me if I wanted to take on a mountain trail race called “The Frozen Snot.”  The name itself seemed like a challenge — things will be cold and uncomfortable.  I’m in!  My carried-over confidence from Kokoro turned into cockiness, though, and I didn’t train for the event.  I didn’t bother to research the event to understand how to supplement my CrossFit training.  It was a 13-mile trail run — I’ve run that far before, I’ve run trails before, I’ve been cold before, I’ve got this!  After a half mile of flat running, we went straight up a mountain, and an up/down pattern of mountain climbing continued for the duration.  I did not complete the 13 miles, but stopped at a very convenient 7 mile point that was close to the beginning.  I spent the rest of the afternoon rethinking my non-existent training plan, and came away from the event with a more practical add-on lesson to my waning confidence:  you can do anything, but only if you are physically ready.
I find myself now on the precipice of another challenge — I want to tackle the Bay Bridge Swim.  And that statement creates another more pressing challenge — I am not ready!  Not even close.  I am confident that I can do it, but the reality is that I’ve gotten soft.  I’ve let my eating, drinking, sleeping habits get away from me on a regular basis for way too long, because that seems like the comfortable thing to do.  As a result, I’ve gotten into a rut of being physically and mentally tired.  I feel, for the first time, like I’m getting OLDER.  And I’m not ready.  Anyone with me?
I got out of bed this morning with all this rattling around in my head, and my first training exercise of the day was to get it down on paper (still seems more fluid than a computer for me), and reflect on where I am and where I want to be.  In short, I miss the feeling of being physically and mentally ready for anything, and I’m going to get back there.  For me, that will start with getting out of bed every morning at 5am ready to go, ready to fight.  I need to stop choosing to be comfortable, and spend as much time as possible each day in a “training” mindset.  That doesn’t mean spending hours in the gym, but it does mean spending that quiet time each morning at 5am getting squared away mentally with my goals for the day.  It does mean making decisions more consistently that bring me toward my goal rather than further away from it.
It means choosing discipline over comfort.
Thanks for allowing me to use my blogging soapbox as a personal therapy session this week.  I hope some of this resonates with you too, especially if you are struggling with choosing the worthwhile over the comfortable.  Let me know if you ever need to talk through anything, you know where to find me!

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