Push yourself a little harder

On our last morning at Badlands National Park in Interior, South Dakota, we got up early to run as we knew we would be driving all day – part of a planned travel day to Mount Rushmore with a final destination of Custer State Park.

We started our run in a little valley where our KOA was nestled among a grove of trees in the otherwise desolate prairie landscape. The Badlands’ formation blocked the early morning sun to our east as we started down a gravel road and up into a field of grass.

The first mile was all uphill. Not a great start for a Lowcountry flatlander. My husband, Tom, and our dog, Iggy, began to put some distance between us. I considered stopping to a walk as I gasped for air and my hamstrings screamed. Although it was predicted to be in the nineties on this early-September day, the morning chill was burning the back of my throat as I sucked in through my mouth.

I almost stopped only a few tenths of a mile into the run, but then my thoughts drifted to how little writing I actually completed, or started, on this trip I billed in my own mind as a writing tour of the country. Our days have been filled with non-stop go-go-go. Each morning we are up before sunlight, ready to set out on our next adventure, not wanting to waste a minute of daylight. I’ve been collapsing into bed and falling asleep immediately after finishing what has turned into rather late dinners.

As the next hill came into view, I said to myself, “Oh Sue, you can get up a little earlier or force yourself to write a few words before dropping into bed.”

That thought also gave me the motivation to keep running.

The truth is – I often give up writing, lifting, selling, thinking, planning, running, or on other activities or goals just a little too soon. If I just mustered a little extra effort, I could reap the benefits. Do you do the same? Could you just put in a little more time, thought, effort, or commitment to reach your desired result?

Having made it to the top of what seemed like the next endless hill, I felt much better as my legs eased into a downward slope. We had a good bit of downhill until we turned around to return to the start.

By the end of the run, I entered a “runner’s high.” On the last hill, I increased my speed. Ignoring the ache in my hamstrings and glutes, I sprinted the last 100 yards of the three mile outing. And to think I almost gave up before even finishing the first half mile!

Now, I’m working on finding that runner’s high in other endeavors – on pushing myself a little harder.

Push yourself a little harder – who knows what you might achieve.

P.S. The day after I wrote this, we hiked the Lover’s Leap Trail in Custer State Park. As the name suggested, we had to hike up, up, up. My admonishment to “push yourself a little harder” was put to the test. After more heavy breathing and aching hamstrings, we did make it to the top. We were rewarded with amazing views and the trek down the other side of the ridge greeted us with streams, unique rock formations, and easy terrain.

Daniel Island Publishing

225 Seven Farms Drive
Unit 108
Daniel Island, SC 29492 

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