PERSEVERANCE: Set a goal and achieve it, regardless of the difficulty
"If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else, It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them."
- Bruce Lee
- 4:40am, the alarm rings, *snooze*....4:50am, alarm rings again, *snooze*....An inner voice finally says, "Time to get up and face the day!" As much as I dreaded what was to come, I remained positive and ready to meet any challenge that presented itself that day.
- 5:45am, we arrived at the studio; the first ones there. The anticipation began to build inside my mind.
- 6:00am, all Black Belt Candidates arrived for endurance training. The first assignment: 'Warm-up' Run to US Cellular field #5 from our studio. Ready...Set....Go!
- 6:15am, Field 5. Mr. Rob covers the next task. "Five laps around this baseball field equals one mile. Each lap equals 1/20th of a mile. 1st degree candidates will run 5 laps. 2nd degree candidates 10 laps, and the 3rd degree candidates,15 laps", he says. Reality sets in. I am the ONLY 3rd degree candidate in this group. My mind begins screaming, "15 laps!....Lord help me!"
MILE 1: I turned on my Nike+ GPS and hip hop started to play...WHOA! The music in the quiet morning seemed ten times as loud sending my anticipation into overdrive...thank goodness for volume control! Alright, its time. Ready...Set....Go!
My 14-year old niece Aloha, a 2nd degree black belt was there to support and run with me. Running the first and second laps were tough. I had to remember how to breathe and set a pace. All I could think about was how frozen my fingers were and how was I ever going to run without stopping for 15 laps around the seemingly ginormous baseball field! Come on legs, don't fail me now!
During our run, I was lapped by other candidates, but I didn't stop. I kept going. I had hip hop in my left ear, Aloha's encouragement of 'C'mon Aunty you can do it!', and the skyline ahead of me filled with the visual imagery of rowing oars cutting through the water and powering through.
MILE 2: The second mile was a tough one, I slowed down without even knowing it. My focus shifted when I was asked a peculiar question that was far from the topic of running. I kept focused on my "location" and answered in bursts of short breaths, 'I'm on the Willamette River in Corvallis rowing against a current.' (Hmmm...I thought I started on the Columbia River??) Thank goodness for Aloha's encouraging voice which brought me back in focus and our pace increased to finish the last mile.
MILE 3: My body started to ache and my legs were screaming "STOP!" as they were getting numb from the cold. I kept on going. At lap 15, we sprinted the last part, from the left field fence behind the 3rd baseline, all the way to home plate (remember, we were running the baseball field). When I checked my Nike+ GPS, I had another 1/20th of a mile to go. Because the app was calibrated to my pace, I kept going. Aloha stayed with me and told me not to slow down. As we rounded left field the most amazing thing happened....
It was still cold, dark and foggy out. I couldn't make out the images, but through the fog, I could see silhouettes of the rest of the group (candidates, parent, instructor) running across the field shouting and cheering, "C'mon Ms. Christine YOU CAN DO THIS!'
At that moment a strong burst of energy rushed through me and we sprinted to home plate where everyone had gathered to cheer me in...AMAZING TEAM SPIRIT! I wish I had a camera to capture this most awesome moment of inspiration. Imagine 13 of us running through the fog, in slow motion (so it seemed), towards the finish line (home plate), shouting out positive praise and encouragement to finish strong and sprint through to the end! My legs screamed, 'No more!' But my mind said, 'Don't Give up, Run faster!'
THE RESULT: My time for 3 miles: 37:11, average pace 12:22 per mile. My best miles were first and third. My goal for this this test will be to run 3 miles within 30 minutes...I CAN DO THIS!
WE MADE IT! The team persevered through the first part of the morning, giving us all a great sense of accomplishment. BUT, we weren't quite done yet. The next part of training session would entail a long list of grueling endurance drills strewn across a period of about 2 hours...Another story for another time indeed!
I am so proud of our ATC Candidates! This particular Saturday morning showed perseverance in everyone as well as demonstrating the true meaning of teamwork and coming together as one. EVERYONE crossed the finish line. No one was left behind. I believe we were successful that morning because of the support we gave and received from everyone on the team:
- ATC students persevere and learn to bring out their true spirit. They NEVER give up. They set a goal and achieve it, regardless of the difficulty.
- ATC instructors persevere and push their students to go beyond their limits because they believe in their potential to grow and become leaders in life.
- ATC parents persevere through continued support of our school and believe in the ATC discipline which helps their students grow.
Perseverance doesn't come easy. You have to set goals, do the work to get there, and trust that you have the capacity to go beyond your limits. What goals do you have? How are you going to ensure you achieve them?
Although eventually we'll test as individuals in order to get to the next level, we are a team working together to achieve our goals, one step at a time. What a great feeling to know that others are there to share in your experience and celebrate your successes!