Sunday, April 18, 2010

What Am I Made Of?

I went to the movies today to see Beneath Hill 60. It's a story from WW1 about a group of miners who tunneled beneath enemy lines to plant mines and blow up the Germans. I found myself thinking about how hard life was back in the early 1900's. Even out of the war zone there were none of the things that make our life easy - no cars, washing machines, dishwashers. On the front line it was unbelievably miserable - the mud, the cold, being fired on, the rats, dysentery. People were so tough back then.

Life has become so easy. We don't need to struggle for our existence. If we're hungry we go buy some food. If we're thirsty we can turn on a tap. Generally we don't have to fear for our lives. And when I see a movie that makes me think like this I wonder how I would hold up if I was the one on the front line. Would I be the blithering, whimpering person in the foxhole who's incapable of moving? Or would I rise to the challenge and lay it all on the line?

Maybe because we don't get to test our mettle like that we undertake our own tests of character. Some people climb mountains, some trek across frozen wastelands and some run marathons. Within that 42.2 k's we have to fight to achieve the goals we've set and to survive. We don't have to do it - we just want to see if we can and what we're made of.

I'd like to say that tonight I'm made of very sore and tired muscles. I've had a great week of challenging training sessions and I've survived. Yesterday's 18k hilly run was the icing on the cake and apart from a few aches I've recovered really well. I'm really excited about the weeks ahead and the increases in mileage and the opportunity to see what I'm made of.


  1. I often think the same thing. My grandparents raised 6 kids on a farm in the middle of nowhere. They were practically self sufficient: grew their own food, preserved it for long winters, made clothes for themselves and kids, took care of animal farms. They lived in a very poor part of the country so there was no farm machinery and for most of their lives not even electricity. I have a very easy and cushy life by comparison.
    I wish I could see that movie but foreign movies don't really make it to the States. :( When it comes out on DVD I might be able to rent it.

  2. Great post. I often wonder the same if it were to come down to a war situation or something serious like that. Glad you were able to apply this question to your training and be pleased with the results!

  3. You're so right about our easy life these days. Interesting to compare those challenges with our running ones. Well done on a good week of training!

  4. You are spot on with how much easier we have it now. If we all worked at challenging ourselves, in whatever fashion that may be, we'd have a totally different world now.

  5. When I am training for a marathon I look forward to my long runs even though I know I will be aching and not enjoying every minute that I am running! Crazy but good. When a run goes right it is great. When it doesn't I hope I can learn something from it.

  6. Excellent analogy! This ofers some good perspective for those runs where nothing is going right... at least we are able to be out there, doing what we love to do!


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