This Saturday my run included several 100 m strides. I felt particularly good on this run and was really putting my all into the short strides (by my math I think that they are about 0.06 of a mile). At one point I saw my speed top out at around a 5:30 min/mile. I mentally cheered myself on for such a fast pace.
As my mind wandered on my run it came to a memory of an advertisement that Asics put on at the 2011 New York City Marathon. I came across it a year and a half ago via some form of social media and once I got home, I went back to the internet to find it. Does anyone else remember this?
Asics set up a 60 foot long screen along a wall in which a video played of Ryan Hall running his marathon pace. They then challenged passerbys to race Ryan Hall for 60 feet at his marathon pace. I bet you can already guess how that turned out.
With a stride length of 6 feet, 10 inches and a pace of 4:46, not many civilians can keep up with that pace.
As I was running I laughed to myself, realizing that not even at my top sprint speed could I run faster than Ryan Hall’s marathon pace! Of course I’m not disappointed in myself for not being able to match a world champion runner’s speed, but it did provide me with some perspective into just how much faster I could be, how much faster we all could be! Granted, pro athletes do have some genetic favoritism (and in Lance Armstrong and probably a lot of other pro athlete’s cases something else…), but at the end of the day, their bodies adapted to years of hard training which made them as fast as they are today. They put in the work to get faster and we all can too.
Oftentimes we mentally put a limit of what we can achieve. Some people say “I could never run a 5k” or others say “I’ll always be overweight” or “I’ll never be as fast as my friend.” What HAS been doesn’t predict what CAN be. Sometimes these mental barriers hold us back from greatness because we don’t believe it’s possible. Growing up I struggled with my weight. I never thought I’d be a “thin” person or run a marathon or do most of the things I do with my body today. At some point I changed the way I look at what my body can or can’t do and now the possibilities seem endless.
So maybe one day I will be able to sprint as fast as Ryan Hall can run a marathon. But I never will be unless I decide to try.
Have you ever pushed a goal out of your mind because you didn’t believe it could happen? Ever go after something others told you that you couldn’t do?