My mind often drifts when I am out on a bicycle, this time though I was on my two feet and practicing the patience that running has taught me. My build up to Ultra Trail Cape Town at the end of the year in December has started and it prompted me to think about why we like to challenge ourselves!

We all enjoy a challenge, some more than others, but if you think back over your life I am pretty sure you can find an example of where you have challenged yourself. Whether it be starting a new business venture, learning a new skill, learning a language, learning to play a musical instrument, pushing yourself to run that new personal best or maybe it was as simple as challenging yourself to say hello to someone you admired.

In short, we have all put ourselves outside of our comfort zone! This has helped us to grow and although it might not seem like it at the time, change can be good and healthy.

Pushing yourself to do more is not everyone’s piece of cake! Over the weekend I was tracking the progress/results of the Western States 100 miler or wser100 for short. This race is run over 160 km through California in the USA. It is one hell of a journey and seeing how people push themselves over the limit to complete it is quite remarkable! It gave me a crazy idea to possibly attempt this one day. The top athletes complete the race in under 20 hours and the course has numerous curve balls along the way. The route takes the runners through open wilderness/conservancy reserves so you may even stumble upon a bear! Added to this, the route isn’t flat and not to mention you are running 160km!!

Wser100 profile

You can view the full route break down here.

I have no doubt some people may think that you  have a screw or two lose up-stairs for even planning to run this race one day.  Let’s not focus in on this though, let’s rather get back to the main point about challenging ourselves.

Challenging yourself doesn’t mean that you need to run 100 miles across the Californian wilderness or ride a 24 hour endurance cycling race like the Trans Baviaans. Everyone faces challenges, the scale, size and number are all dependent on the individual. Challenging yourself is also not only done on the athletic and exercise front, but it is also about encouraging yourself to try new things so that you can grow as a person.

Personally, I enjoy a challenge and I am fortunate enough to have people around me, friends, family, and mentors who encourage me to continuously improve. Providing me with an environment where I can learn, grow, and use the opportunities that I have been given.

Next time you come across an obstacle or something happens that you didn’t plan for,  choose to see it as an opportunity to positively challenge yourself and grow as a person. Over the weekend I read an article about productivity and investing in yourself, it is listed below if you are interested. Have a great week!

If each day, for an entire year, you woke up an hour earlier than needed and invested that time in yourself…”