do the thing you think you cannot


By Jennifer Lintz, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and ICI/PRO Contributor

Have you ever not done something because you weren’t sure you could?

As instructors, I have a feeling many of us talk quite a bit about comfort zones (specifically, getting out of them) in our classes, but I often wonder … do we take our own advice?

I have seen Eleanor Roosevelt’s quotes on this topic numerous times, but I will admit, I never fully appreciated her words until I actually took them out for a test drive.

Two years ago, a dietetic intern of mine, Amanda, who is now a very close friend, asked me to do something with her called RAGNAR®. Ever heard of it? She told me a little bit about it, but all I processed was:

“You have to run a lot over two days. You will be in a van with 11 other people when you aren’t running. You probably will not sleep.”

I immediately thought “Why would anyone choose to do this?”

I told her I would pass, and thought “Whew. I’m off the hook.”

That was, of course, until she asked me to join her team again the next year.

She assured me it would be “life changing” and “the most fun I’ll ever have.” While I was not convinced it would be either of those things, I begrudgingly agreed to do it.

Our team of 12 - all women - was formed by the early part of 2014, and because many of us live in southeast Minnesota, we chose to do RAGNAR® Great River which starts in Winona, MN, and ends in Minneapolis, MN. Over August 13th and 14th, we would run just over 200 miles as a team. Each runner was assigned 3 legs of the route that ranged anywhere from 3 to 10 miles. Some of us ran during the day, others overnight. I was runner #2, which meant my first leg was 6.2 miles, the second 5.1, and the third 5.6.

Knowing we would be running in the dog days of August, I made sure to get plenty of training under my belt in the months leading up to RAGNAR®, sometimes running a few miles in the morning and later a few more at night. I did everything from steady state runs, to hill-repeats, speed work, tempo runs, cross training, and weight lifting to prepare.

As the event neared, I was feeling fairly confident about my ability to do the running part. My apprehension, I realized, stemmed mainly from knowing I would get virtually no sleep and have very little time to myself. I have long considered myself an introvert who requires plenty of rest, so both of these aspects of RAGNAR® made me nervous. I fully expected to be tired and grumpy when it was over.

Without sharing all of the details, I will tell you that I couldn't have been more wrong. Doing RAGNAR® was an incredible experience and just plain fun ... and it wasn't because of the running. Sure, it was exciting to get a couple PRs, but the real value of RAGNAR®, for me, came down to the people and the camaraderie. Needless to say, we are already preparing for next year.

So, how does this tie into teaching indoor cycling? For starters, my self-talk during the training process and the weekend itself gave me fresh ideas for coaching in cycling classes. But, perhaps most importantly,  it helped me truly understand what it means to get uncomfortable and why stretching our personal limits can be a beautiful thing. As someone who regularly encourages students to challenge themselves, I found it very valuable to practice what I preach off the bike

For me, RAGNAR® was just the tip of the iceberg. I now have the beginnings of what I'm calling a "To Try" list; first up is Zumba (let's just say dancing is not one of my strengths). In all seriousness, it reminded me how important it is to be the student and get a taste of what it feels like to be a little nervous.

What would you do if you weren't apprehensive about it? Please feel free to share your experience.

A big THANK YOU to John and ICI/PRO who sponsored our team. Below are a few pictures from the weekend.

The start line at 6:00 a.m. Friday morning.

Community nap time at one of the big exchanges on Saturday afternoon.

Community nap time at one of the big exchanges on Saturday afternoon.

This was me finishing my last leg of the race. Felt good!

I was just finishing my last leg of the race. Felt good!

The full "Ragdolls" team!

Originally posted 2014-11-22 04:33:43.

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