“Bruce had me up to three miles a day, really at a good pace. We’d run the three miles in twenty-one or twenty-two minutes. Just under eight minutes a mile [Note: when running on his own in 1968, Lee would get his time down to six-and-a half minutes per mile].
So this morning he said to me “We’re going to go five.” I said, “Bruce, I can’t go five. I’m a helluva lot older than you are, and I can’t do five.” He said, “When we get to three, we’ll shift gears and it’s only two more and you’ll do it.” I said “Okay, hell, I’ll go for it.”
So we get to three, we go into the fourth mile and I’m okay for three or four minutes, and then I really begin to give out. I’m tired, my heart’s pounding, I can’t go any more and so I say to him, “Bruce if I run any more,” –and we’re still running-”if I run any more I’m liable to have a heart attack and die.” He said, “Then die.”
It made me so mad that I went the full five miles. Afterward I went to the shower and then I wanted to talk to him about it. I said, you know, “Why did you say that?”
He said, “Because you might as well be dead. Seriously, if you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.”
I recently found this quote while stuck in some worm hole on the internet but it resonated with me all the same. There are no limits. Wow! What a concept! It got me thinking about what limits I place on myself on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis. They might not be big or even anything I can put into words, but I know that I do this to myself. Whether it’s at work, at home or even in my personal life goals, it happens. We all do it. It makes total sense the more that I think of it. I get frustrated when I plateau and seem to get stuck in the status quo yet there are many days that I am not willing to get outside my comfort zone. While the concept of going beyond your plateau “killing you” , well maybe that’s not something I want to embrace, but I certainly can embrace the idea of pushing past what feels comfortable.
There are so many ways that we can do this. I know that one of my biggest motivators of moving outside my comfort zone or pushing past my plateaus is my sweet little Ronni. For those of you who don’t know Ronni’s story or how we came to meet, I’ll share a little more about her here. I met Ronni and her family (that live in England) through the “I Run For Michael” organization. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this amazing organization, “Who I Run 4” (http://www.whoirun4.com/) pairs runners with individuals who have special needs and aren’t able to engage in the same level of physical activity.
From their site:
“You can run for me anytime!” A simple phrase that sparked a movement.
We all have friends who say “run some for me” because they don’t WANT to run… what about those who physically CAN’T run? After an inspiration from a close friend who was battling bilateral hip dysplasia – Founder Tim Boyle found a whole new inspiration to run. The mental and emotional encouragement for both runner and honorary runner is proving to be a whole new level of motivation and awareness. Runners are able to find a whole new sense of purpose in their running while sharing who they are running for and bringing awareness to diseases and disabilities of all types.”
Just over a year ago in early June 2014, I was matched with Ronni. At the time, this is what I first shared about her with my family and friends that had been shared with me by her Grandmother, Christine and Mom, Laura.
“Ronni is 6 and has no diagnosis. She is unable to walk, stand, crawl, talk………..but we don’t worry about those things, we like to focus on what she can do…….. She communicates her needs using makaton, a simple sign language………and by pointing at what she wants. She can’t walk unaided but can use a walker…..which she loves but finds pretty exhausting. When shes on the floor she gets to where she wants by rolling and tummy shuffling. She is a beautiful child with an infectious smile and a stubborn streak a mile wide. Ronni loves school and does one day a week in a mainstream school and four days in a special school. She’s a big sister to Freddi who she terrorizes….she likes to try and pinch his toys so he has learned to keep a good distance away from her and one eye open at all times……….they love each other dearly.”
Since that time, this family has become such an important part of my life. We communicate via social media frequently including this recent video post from Ronni’s Mom Laura with her brother Freddi and my sweet Ronni. I love that she even gives a special shout out to Riche.
Ronni motivates me daily. Being her friend and committing to being active for her has helped push me through so many plateaus in my life both in my fitness and personal goals.
So as I move into this second of half of the year, I commit not only to Ronni but also to myself. I commit to doing everything I can to not limit myself. To push through my plateaus. Most importantly, to remember, that I am so much stronger than I think. And like Bruce Lee, constantly strive to exceed my level. How are you going to push through your plateaus? How are you going to stop putting limits on yourself?