By Eric Hill
A few days ago, I had the best day on the bike that I have had in a long time. I had a 4 hour ride with some high intensity intervals. It was cold (38*), raining and 20mph winds, but I knew the workout was an important one for my preparation for some big races ahead, so I needed to get it in. 20 minutes into the ride, I was ready to turn around and go home, but I forced myself to keep moving forward. 45 minutes in, I get side swiped by a car in a round-a-bout, but I managed to stay upright and come away unscathed. At an hour in, the intervals begin and I am feeling good, so I push my limits. Another hour goes by and my body starts screaming to ease up, but I know that this is the point where the real gains are made… push through it. Another 30 minutes and I realized I was so cold and wet that I forgot to eat and drink for my entire interval session. 10 minutes later, my body starts to shut down… no more glycogen in the muscles to keep on pushing the pedals… and I have 15 more miles to ride into a block headwind to get home.
I was totally empty. Every pedal stroke hurt, and I loved it. I tell my athletes and teammates that these are the moments that can change you and how you approach adversity. I call it “Embracing the Suck.”
You have a split second to make the decision… embrace it or resent it. Whatever your initial reaction is to that experience, it will stick. So, choose carefully, because it is hard to overcome it once you have made that choice.
What is your tendency? Do you normally take the easy way out or do you own the moment and make something of it?
Next time you hit rock bottom, whether it is at work, in a workout, or in a relationship, I challenge you to embrace the suck. Own the moment and identify where you went wrong, what you can do better and how you can learn from the experience. Those moments are the moments that make us, us. Don’t deny them.
Additional thought… From a young age, we were all told that success is the result of hard work. At first, we resent it. Then, we try and find shortcuts around it. Eventually, it catches up with us and we can’t deny it. You have that moment where you put your “best effort” into preparing for something and it gets thrown back in your face and you realized you failed, miserably. It is in that moment you have a choice, make an excuse and continue on as nothing ever happened or embrace “the suck” and learn from it, grow from the experience, and use your failure as a means to success.
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