My car crested over Patterson Hill in my hometown. Heading westward towards the city one can see several mountains splayed across the horizon with Lafayette, GA sprawled out below.

Ultra runner David Goggins barked through my car speakers. “Do something that sucks every day.” He said it would make me a hard ass. Well, he said, “a hard-ass mother-fucker.”

I’m a sucker for motivational speakers. So I decided, while blanketed with epic soundtrack tunes and the siren call of a man who went through Navy Seal Hell Week three times in one year, to attempt something harder during my workout.

As I walked into the gym, The Machine towered ominously above me. It mocked me with it’s self-regenerating staircase. It remembered me, recalled my fear, smelled my weakness.

Up to this point, I had only gone 10 minutes at one time on that damned stairmaster.  At the end of the session, I felt like my soul had been torn apart from my body. So, I had made it my goal to eventually build up to an hour of climbing on it. I figured I would give myself six months to a year to get to that point. But on this day, I was drinking the Goggins Kool-aid. 

I clambered up the beastly machine, kranked up another Goggins video and pressed start on the exercise machine.

It hurt. I felt like I would trip and die. I wanted to quit. People stared. Babies cried. Old men shook their heads at me. Young men flexed their biceps my way. Women gave me the side-eye. I climbed on. I sweat. It poured off my head and body. The stairs below me looked like I had pissed on them (Maybe I did, I’ll never tell).

But I made it. 

I’m not saying that the workout was the hardest thing ever. I’m not saying it was even harder than your easiest leg day. But I’m proud for reaching out and seeing what I had in me. I didn’t know I could do an hour. Think of all the wasted time I would have spent trying to build up to doing one hour when I already had it in me all along. I just needed a little motivation to try.

Accomplishing the climb helped me to test some other things with my endurance as well. This Sunday, I walked/ran 13.1 miles on my treadmill, just to see if I could. It sucked. It was boring. But I made it. 

Now to assess my endurance on the road and trails.

Oh boy.