last saturday's 2-hour indoor cycling class was---in the words of a fellow classmate---brutal.
our instructor kept us in those barely-to-absolutely anaerobic heart rate zones for long stretches, and the room was heated by our 45 sweaty bodies to the point that I drank 4 entire water bottles during the workout.
when we were in the still-aerobic zone she talked about it being hard;
the first fully anaerobic zone she called harder;
the highest zone of all she called hardest.
pretty simple, easy to understand, but full of significance.
out there on the road, pedaling, we often get ourselves into the hard zone. or even more often, the step right below hard, the uncomfortable zone.
it takes something---guts, courage, willpower, focus, determination---to get up into the harder zone.
and it takes even more to get yourself into the hardest zone.
life's amazingly similar. we can live in uncomfortable and even hard, but harder and hardest take courage and determination:
making those phone calls you dread, performing tasks you know will challenge and discourage and possibly defeat you, getting yourself up on that ladder when you're afraid of heights, asking for something you know you might not receive.
and ~ ta-dah! ~ spending time in those hardest places, whether they be during exercise or during everyday life, is what makes us stronger beings.
this isn't the world's greatest insight---I'm pretty sure you already knew this---but we often forget to acknowledge our visits to difficult places, the dedication it takes, and the payoff in our own growth.
this morning's workout had us spend 15 minutes in harder.
and it was easier because, two days earlier, I'd already spent a chunk of time in hardest.