The next (third) installment of the Motivation Series. Here you can find the first (failing in order to succeed) and second (don't sabotage yourself) installments.
I was finishing a tempo run with my local running group when Gilbert eased up next to me and egged me into completing the last quarter mile at his side. Mind you, he was barely breathing, and I was, well, breathing enough for the both of us, when he stepped on the gas, just a little, and tightened the screws. Here we go...
I have a heart rate above which my breakfast feels like it's going to jump down onto the tops of my shoes. The screws tightened just enough and over the last quarter mile I went there. Luckily my breakfast didn't.
When we pulled up, Gilbert said "good, you can race now." I said "can I vomit now instead?" His response "you mean build a house."
Huh? On both our parts. He thought I knew what he was talking about and I had no idea what he was talking about.
The story goes that the really good African runners know that leaving Africa and winning a big race can mean the difference between a life of anonymous poverty and lauded fortune. Or the difference between living in a hut and ... building a house. For her/himself, for their mother, their brother, and the mayor. So when these runners vomit during a workout, their training partners say "so-and-so is building a house."
As in, s/he is putting in the hard, painful work necessary to win the big races that bring the money that builds the house.
Apparently, a little vomit goes a long way.
I am also told that if there are multiple rounds of vomit during a single session, the house grows is height. "So-and-so built their first story." "There, you earned your second story."
Now I am not advocating doing workouts until you throw up, or that make you throw up. But I do advocate doing the work that pushes limits, that pegs the good ol' vomit-o-meter, even if only for a quarter mile. Because the benefits of finding your limits and pushing past are exactly what you make (of) them.
These Africans train with a singular focus - building a house, a stable future - and push their limits in order to provide it for their family. Identify your own goal and push your limits to that end.
How many stories does your dream house have?