How Far Can You Push Yourself?








"There's something in cars called a governor."

"Oh," I said, not listening. I was still waking up, rubbing my eyes, while running, full-speed on a treadmill, beside my Crossfit teacher and today, personal trainer.

"Do you know what that means?" He shot back, calling me out on my robotic nod.

I wagged my head left and right.

"It's the part of a car that keeps you from going too fast. Our body has one of those too. It stops us from pushing ourselves when really we can continue on."

I thought about some of my most infamous moments of stopping. I've walked out of many workout classes because I grew bored. I've laid on many gym mats watching YouTube rather than doing an ab workout. Once, I ran a 5k and decided to stop running 10 feet before the finish line... I don't need a lesson in stopping short. It's practically my mantra.

But I do need a way to fix it.

"Okay, so what do you do when your body is screaming stop and everything hurts and you just don't want to go on anymore?" I asked, hopeful for an answer I knew I wouldn't get.

"You keep going."

Our workout lasted an hour, though I'd be willing to bet my lunch money that it lasted for 3. 

By the final round, I thought about crawling out of the gym and hiding in a bush. I thought about yelling nasty things, words that you don't scream in public. I thought about crying, okay I did cry, a little bit, but it blended in with sweat - phew.

"Remember your governor," he would say, and then I would think about my options: crawl out or continue. Curse underneath my breath and carry on. 

After the workout, I bragged that I'm mentally strong in every other area of life. I've been through tidal waves of disaster and have managed to stand on top of the rip curls. When it comes to my body, I'm a wimp.

He questioned how mentally strong I can be in other areas if I give up on myself so often when it comes to my body.

Perhaps I do give up on myself in life more than I think, it's just not as visible. "Remember your governor." Remember that we can always keep going, we just have to fight against the feeling, the thoughts, the idea that we're weak.


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