I was never any good at the hurdles in athletics! I was good at sprinting and throwing, but hurdles, nah. Why I don't really know, I just couldn't get the technique or lift my knees high enough, and I think I was afraid of hitting the thing and falling.
Funny how this can reflect our attitudes to life's trials and difficulties. I often start something with great gusto and excitement, then along comes a hurdle and I often just stop before even attempting to get over it. I take a look at that hurdle and I see it physically grow before my eyes until it looks more like a high jump, it becomes insurmountable and I find myself turning around and walking rather dejectedly in the opposite direction.
I had this happen to me again this week, the beginning of the year I made a commitment to myself that I was finally going to make this the year that I get my weight down to the 'normal' part of the healthy weight chart. It is a tall order for me, as many can probably appreciate. I wouldn't say that I am unhealthy, I eat well, a good amount of vegetables and fruit, not too much fat and only a little alcohol from time to time. I don't smoke (anymore) and I exercise up to 8-9 hours per week (I teach fitness classes). So by all accounts I should be the ideal weight already, however those hurdles in life have been my downfall, leading to a lifestyle and habit of comfort eating.
Each week I step on the scale and see a small to medium size loss, I pat myself on the back and check out my profile in the mirror, yep definitely improvement, muscle definition is beginning to show, my butt and tummy definitely don't stick out as far as they used to, waist narrower, nice!
Then that dreaded week arrives (usually coincides with a period, hey girls, you know the struggle) you step on the scales and they mock you, up half a kg, what?, you get off reset them try again, definitely up, but I worked so hard this week, I did everything right, why, please tell me why?
Right there that is the moment we face that hurdle, I watch as it begins to grow, "I knew this would happen", "it doesn't matter how hard I try", "it's no use, I just can't do it", "even when I do everything right it still doesn't work", "there must be something wrong with me", "I must have an illness". And then it comes, the defeat, the turning around and walking away, "I might as well not bother", "if I do all the 'right' things and it doesn't work then I might as well not bother and at least enjoy dong the 'wrong' things".
There we have it, back to the starting blocks..... again.
But I have realized something more recently, nothing is actually insurmountable, with the right 'thinking', 'motivation' and 'training' it is possible to get over that hurdle. And support is everything. But sometimes we don't have the support that we need, we have to dig deep into our own beliefs and pool of courage and find that grit and determination from somewhere else.
You see a hurdle is just a plank supported a little way off the ground, it's not a brick wall, and your body is capable of learning to jump over it. What we need is to understand the physical requirements of how to get over it and the physical changes that we need to make to our bodies in order to enable us to get over it. For hurdling we need: strength, speed, agility and focus.
Let's apply these things to life. We need strength, everyday to face the tasks ahead of us, strength of mind to not be swayed and physical strength to keep going. We need speed; if we don't move fast enough we won't get enough momentum to carry us over and onward, we will stall. Speed allows us to attack the problem with enough momentum that we not only clear the hurdle but are carried onward towards the next one in the knowledge that we just smashed the last one. Even if we knock that hurdle over, if we have enough speed and are sure footed enough we can carry on to the next one without tripping and falling. Agility can be tricky and this is where I have always struggled, my body isn't as flexible as some peoples, my reactions can be slow, but agility can be learned, and developed. It takes time but consistency is the key. Practicing to sharpen the mind and body brings greater reaction speeds and better range of motion. Training the thoughts of our mind to be agile helps us adjust mid track before that hurdle, or after it for the next one. Don't get stuck with inflexible thoughts of I can't, switch them up to I can and I will, and do it quickly. And finally, focus, focus is your deal breaker, without it your not racing your running. A race is competitive and there is a prize at the end. Fix your focus! Hurdlers don't focus on the jumps, they focus on the finish line, they know the jumps are there, they have a stride pattern to help them, they know how many steps in between each hurdle, they know the height of each hurdle, they have a form they need to achieve to jump each one. So once they have cracked the technique they no longer focus on the jumps but on the finish. We need to set our focus on our goals not on the obstacles that come our way.
For me it's all about maths, there is a formula to weight, energy in versus energy out, sure perhaps it is not as straight forward as that right, we have hormones, bad days and poor tracking of those calories, but still, it is a formula that works. So I have my form, I know what to do and how to do it, I am focused on the finish line, I am strong, I am going to run fast. Now what..... just keep going until it's done! With each hurdle re-assess, what did or didn't I do, what can I do better next time, how can I improve, what part of my training is weak or letting me down, how can I adjust.
As I recently said to my support group, the bottom line is my bottom line, you don't get the ass you want by sitting on it. So.. Bottom line...Don't quit, don't give up, keep moving, the race ain't over yet!