Where do you draw the line between possible and impossible?
Growing up we are told what we cannot do. You’re not tall enough to be a dancer, you’re too short to be on the basketball team, and so on. We are told “no” over and over again.
But as adults who is really saying “No”?
You may realize it is you, your fears and your self-imposed limitations. You’re the one saying you cannot. Physically challenging yourself is a way to say “yes I can.” “Yes,” to pushing yourself beyond what you think achievable, whether you’re dreaming of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, running a 5K, or doing 10 good pull-ups. Sounds a bit cheesy, but it really doesn’t matter what it is you choose, it just matters that you try.
At the end of April, I attempted L’Etape du California, the Queen stage of the professional cycling Tour of California. The ride is about 100 miles with 10,000 feet of climbing. Any good cyclist would call it nothing less than a very big day.
To better paint the picture, the race begins at 7:00 am with 16 mile climb, with 3,400 feet of elevation gain, and gradient of 9.5-15 percent. This was only the beginning of my excruciating battle. I faired well through the morning but by 12:00 pm I was on the back side of the mountain in the full sun, heat, elevation, and beginning to really suffer. I reached the final climb by 3:30 pm and my riding partner hurt his back. We were only 3 miles of switch backs at 20 percent gradient away from our finish line but we called it quits.
At first I felt terrible about not finishing the race. I was completely focused on what I did not do.
Then I tallied the numbers for what I actually did do:
I rode a bike for over eight hours;
I rode 98 miles and climbed 9,800 feet;
Rode further than I’ve ever ridden;
Climbed more than I’ve ever climbed;
Was one of less than 60 women who attempted the ride (out of 1000 total riders);
Trained as much as I could with the time I had;
And I gave it everything I had that day.
And by any measure these are epic accomplishments.
It’s not about the end result but about the continuous effort over time, gradual changes, mini-wins, and daily “yes’s”.
What a noble way to honor yourself: Create a goal, train towards that goal, and attempt it. For me, pushing beyond what I knew I could accomplish moved the line between possible and impossible. I now know more is possible and I’ll keep pushing that line of impossibility further and further away.
Where do you draw your line between possible and impossible?