I haven't run in almost two weeks. That's almost as long as I went without running after Marji Gesick. I don't really plan to run tomorrow either. I might. Or I might not. That's sort of freeing. I still love running, but it took trying something new to realize why.
Really what I love about running, or biking or anything active is breaking through a limit. Pushing the edge of the comfort zone. Going right to that edge of "I can't do this" and doing it.
I thought I did that running and biking a lot. Then I tried martial arts and realized that the edge of my comfort zone was nowhere near where I thought it was. What I thought was getting out of my comfort zone was really just sort of tiptoeing along the edge of it. I was just doing something I was already pretty comfortable doing for a little longer, or a little harder. Sure, it's rewarding, but after every big accomplishment, I'm really just right back in my comfort zone.
Enter Jiu Jitsu.
Here's how I explained it to Eddie the other day:
"You know how with a lot of things when you're trying to learn you're uncomfortable, but you figure it out and then you're comfortable so then you push a little more and you're uncomfortable again, but then you're comfort, etc. Well that's not how Jiu Jitsu works. You're uncomfortable. Then before you ever get comfortable you're more uncomfortable and then it just gets more uncomfortable."
That was two days ago. I was so shattered from the workout I actually had a good private cry later in the day. Doing a sport where someone else is setting the pace, where someone else is holding you down, where someone else is fighting every move you make is completely foreign to me. Sometimes I hate it. Which is exactly why I made myself go back the next day. Because I can live my whole life doing what's easy and never learning or I can get my butt into the gym, face my fears and come out of it changed.
Of course, just to push my limits further, when I walked into class last night, there wasn't a single person even close to my size in the place. As coach put it today, "There wasn't a white belt in the room under 180 and then she walked in." As we warmed up, they were actually having a conversation about what position they used to play in football.
At this point my brain said, "I'm gonna die." Thankfully my heart said, "Give it a try, you're probably not gonna die in class. Probably."
So I tried. And it was awesome. Of course they took a little mercy on me, seeing as how they could all probably squash me with their palm. But by the end, after some patient teaching, I was actually rolling with one of them and started to feel just a teeny tiny bit......
Just a little.
I know it probably won't last and next week someone will toss me onto my back or choke me and I'll be back to being ridiculously uncomfortable. But as coach explained today while teaching me a new move, in Jiu Jitsu sometimes what looks like an obstacle is really an opportunity. It's all in how you react to it.
So here's to using uncomfortable to your advantage. To turning struggle into growth. To embracing humility. To refusing to let fear paralyze you. To accepting bumps and bruises as proud proof that you never settled for "easy". To letting other people crush your comfort zone. To using every obstacle to your advantage.