Run through the cramps

I was on the last stretch of my run yesterday and was hit with a more-intense-than-usual cramp. For a moment my brain told me, “This really hurts, it would be better if you just stopped.” I ignored it and kept running. The cramp continued to grow in intensity. It was at that moment that I remembered the words of my high school wrestling coach.

“Run through the cramps.”

It is in that moment, when you want to quit and keep going instead, that you decide to improve.

I kept going, but time seemed to slow as my mind focused solely on the pain building in my ribs. I took a deep breath and focused on the sensation of my feet hitting the pavement instead. Another deep breath. And, eventually my cramp became background noise. Soon enough, I was rounding the corner to my street, and my house came into view. I finished the run. And next time my run will be just a little bit easier. I’ll be able to go just a little bit farther.

And the cycle continues. Even Olympic-level athletes have that debate in their heads. Should I keep going? Should I quit? They almost always answer yes, that’s how they became Olympians in the first place.

Most things worth doing in life are hard. We all have that voice in the back of our heads, “it would just be easier to quit. Just stop.” Your brain wants to keep you comfortable. Your body doesn’t like pain in the moment. That’s an interesting paradox of being a human being. Part of you wants to quit. Part of you wants to keep going. Your life DEPENDS on your willingness to keep going, to challenge yourself, and to push through on the other side a better person.

Run through the cramps.

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