Pushing yourself to the limits and tackling new challenges

HopkintonI decided to finally meet my favorite trainer Joe for a group workout this morning. There was no particular focus today and I didn’t request a running-specific workout. What I simply cared about was the camaraderie – suffering and bonding through a tough workout together while listening to the lyrics of “We are the Champions”. Pushing yourself to the limit and tackling new challenges, regardless of whether it’s physical or mental, gives you a wonderful feeling of empowerment and occasionally an exhilarating emotion of happiness that psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes as “flow“. Thinking about the similarities of physical and mental challenges reminds me of a quote by Wolfgang Ketterle, a Nobel-prize winning MIT physicist, I once read on the last page of Runner’s World magazine:

I think both running and science reflect certain character traits. I have endurance, patience, and ambition. I’m willing to work hard toward a goal, to push myself and overcome limits. Running and science both let me express these traits. Also, this is one set of skills that made me successful in both science and running.

Tomorrow I will have to pay for having neglected strength training. I’ll be so sore it’ll be hard to high-five all those Boston Marathon runners at mile 25.  No matter what, I will cheer them on and congratulate them, because tomorrow is their day of pushing themselves to new limits after many months of dedicated training and perhaps even fundraising for a charity. Boston Marathon runners, tomorrow is your day! You can do this! Tomorrow, you will all be winners!


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