There in the desert land of Vegas, the sun not even up yet, and already we had started with the burpees. In my mind 30 is a lot. Burpees are hard. We got to 40, 50, 75, 90 burpees. I began to think “Ugh I should have seen this coming why did I sign up for this”, then “this is ridiculous, we are never going to last 12 hours if we are doing this crap the whole time”, and then “there is no WAY we are doing more than 100” –and was pretty set on there being no chance we’d go past 100. Then we got to 101, 102, and something weird happened; I went into autopilot. Instead of focusing on when we were finishing I was focusing on each burpee because who knew how many these crazy jerks were going to make us do. Granted we ended up only doing a few more, but because anything over 100 seemed unreasonable and unsustainable (we still had over 12 hours to go, this was just the warm up!) and we surpassed it anyway, I didn’t really know what to do with it and just kept moving.
The same happened shortly after when they made us roll sideways through the rocks and dirt. When I saw how far they were making us roll, and thinking about how much I dislike being dizzy, all I could think was “when I barf, who should I aim it at: John or Cookie?” After deciding Cookie was my target, and feeling pretty good about that, I kept rolling. It was getting uncomfortable and I noticed I was only just over half way.
Figuring they would likely move the end point even further once we started getting close, it happened again. It got easier. The nausea went away and the sharp rocks no longer bothered me.
What? Again? Not knowing how long I will have to subject myself to each of these awful tasks is somehow making them easier? How is my brain shutting down discomfort?
It was bizarre.
That pretty much set up the rest of the day. When they made us get tires and announced that we would be carrying them through the entire course, with obstacles, no one flinched. There was almost an air of confidence about us.
There were numerous other occasions (any one of the countless push-up, burpee, or awful-bodyweight-exercise sessions) where we somehow made it through ridiculous amounts of reps –but there was one other repeated task that didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. The dunk wall. I hate wet clothes and get cold pretty easily. I lost track of how many times we ended up there. Oh, you’re cold? Let’s head to the dunk wall. Your shirts are getting dry? Dunk wall. The sun is going down? Dunk wall. But somehow it bothered me less when I didn’t know how long we were going to be in there or how long it would be until we would end up there again. (And I noticed that no one was complaining about it anymore.)
When I only concerned myself with the task itself and not how long or how many times we would have to do it, it wasn’t as bad as it seemed it should have been. Don’t get me wrong, it was a hard 12 hours and I was plenty beat at the end, but we certainly did more than I had imagined. It makes me wonder how much our expectations and assumptions limit what we are capable of or are willing to try, and it made it very clear how much our minds baby our bodies.