Yesterday I made a post on Instagram about why I seek out the unknown. When I say the unknown, I’m specifically talking about the area beyond my comfort zone. The two examples I highlighted with my post were ultramarathons and rock climbing.
Ultras and climbing take me out of my comfort zone for different reasons. Climbing is the easy one; I’m not a huge fan of heights. When I’m in the climbing gym it doesn’t matter if I’m on a v1 or a v4 bouldering problem, once I get high enough my brain tries to take over. It’s during this time that I can incorporate some mental jujitsu in order to top out on the wall.
Running is a bit different than climbing because I don’t know where or when I’ll step beyond my comfort zone. This is what drew me to wanting to run ultras in the first place. Every distance up to a marathon became normal for me. This isn’t to say that every shorter run I do goes well, but it doesn’t send me to that unknown area. When I read about a runner pushing themselves to the point of hallucinating or escaping the hurt locker that they found themselves in after 50/100/200+ miles, I get goosebumps. I think about wanting to be in that position so that I can really test myself. Do I really have the mental fortitude and willpower to handle this incredible challenge?
You’ve probably heard the line “you can’t have happiness if you don’t have sadness.” For me, stepping outside of my comfort zone accomplishes a few things. First and foremost, it expands my comfort zone which is important for me to continue to grow and evolve as a person. Second, by experiencing uncomfortable situations it makes me appreciate my comforts even more. Third, it expands and makes my life more interesting and allows me to connect with people in new ways. Finally, it creates the potential for some awesome stories to tell!
I encourage you to take a chance on something new this week. Be like Elsa and go off into the unknown!