Getting out of my comfort zone

As a programmer I’d say that day-to-day, my life is pretty laid back — long have gone the days where I’d be up and down a ladder with 30kgs of tiles on my shoulder, or carrying 15-foot scaffolding poles in the freezing cold, or cooking fried chicken at KFC for 12 hours straight.

Lately, my days have just been flying by, I’d wake up Monday, blink and it’s Friday with nothing really significant happening during the week for me to distinguish it from the last. This may well be a symptom of the times we are currently in, working from home certainly hasn’t helped with the short weeks.

I needed something to get me out of my perfectly constructed loop.

David Goggins Challenge

For those of you who don’t know, David Goggins is as tough as they come, the ultimate alpha. A retired Navy seal, he spends his days training for ultramarathans which can be as far as 135 miles in a single run, the man is a machine. He also held the world record for most amount of pullups in 24 hours doing over 4000.

I was first introduced to David from his book Can’t Hurt Me which details the mindblowing training required to become a Navy Seal and the ludicrous personal challenges he’d undertake — 100 mile run with broken feet, as an example.

After reading Can’t Hurt Me I became slightly obsessed and got my hands on another book Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet by Jesse Itzler — a hilarious book where Jesse Itzler — an American entrepreneur — invites a Navy Seal to come live with him for a month after seeing said Seal do a 24 hour team running event, by himself. That Seal happened to be noneother than our David Goggins.
https://fm.cnbc.com/applications/cnbc.com/resources/img/editorial/2015/10/30/103125150-book.1910x1000.jpg
In the book David Goggins puts Jesse Itzler through a series of physical and mental challenges to push him to his limits. One challenge that sparked my interest – 4 miles every 4 hours for 24 hours.

The challenge

4 miles every 4 hours for 24 hours. It seemed doable, and the ideal challenge to get me out of my perfectly constructed loop.

So It began, the first thing I did was tell my girlfriend and family I’d be doing it — to hold myself accountable. No getting out of it now.

Friday, 23rd October 2020

The plan was made, I’d start straight after work and do my first run at 6pm. The schedule looked liked the following:

RunTimeMile Counter
#118:004
#222:008
#302:0012
#406:0016
#510:0020
#614:0024
#718:0028

Game on.

Run #1
The first run I did with my girlfriend Sinead, already looking forward to my celebratory takeaway the following night
https://i.imgur.com/2S9YV2o.png

Run #2
The second run was the first of a pattern I’d follow for the whole challenge, I’d go out 2 miles and come back 2 miles — out-n-back.

https://i.imgur.com/50NPF9I.png

Run #3
My 2am run was a little special, not a single car in the road, not a single human in sight, completely serene. I decided to spice this run up a little bit, it’s not often I’ll be doing a run at 2 in the morning. I did a bit of a session, I’d run relatively hard for a quarter mile and then recover for 0.1 of a mile, I’d do this 6 times in total. If anyone saw me, they’d think I’m crazy.
https://i.imgur.com/6WfCDsN.png

Run #4
This run was probably the most difficult, It took me a while to get to sleep after my previous run and as soon as I did it felt like my alarm went off. The hardest part of running is putting on your trainers, the run itself is the easy bit.
https://i.imgur.com/6tVuehG.png

Run #5
Every run so far has been in the dark so it was a nice change not to have to gear up with headtorch and reflective clothes
https://i.imgur.com/sUZ9xvo.png

Run #6
Legs were a little heavy for this one, so I wanted to get it over with quickly. I decided to do a progression run, which means getting faster as the run goes on, it did the job, I got the run done in 27:42, the fastest of the runs — probably not the wisest decision but was fun nonetheless.
https://i.imgur.com/uZNRn8w.png

Run #7
AND that’s a wrap.
https://i.imgur.com/hyMjm0I.png

Conclusion

I did this challenge because my life is a bit too comfortable, and in hindsight it probably wasn’t a big enough challenge for me, but it was different, I definitely don’t get up at 2am to run 4 miles and I probably won’t for a very long time.

I think it’s important to get out of your comfort zone, it doesn’t necessarily have to be physical just something that you wouldn’t normally do, it’s cliche, but there is no better way to grow. Getting out of your comfort zone allows you to respond to life stress when unexpected things happen.

I’d love to hear how you get out of your comfort zone!

All my runs can be found at https://www.strava.com/athletes/16747301

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