Many times, I find myself in a rut; I am a part of a routine that consists of eat, work, sleep, repeat. I find myself trapped in this routine, and get bored. If you can relate, then surely you can appreciate my tips to challenge yourself every once in a while in order to break that routine, spice up your life, and learn something new about yourself.
In late June, I ran the Rugged Maniac 5K obstacle course in Brooklyn, New York. I signed up for it a few months ago with the expectation that this race would motivate me to get in shape for summer. I also felt like challenging myself physically in a way I had never done before.
I started going to the gym, attended spinning and yoga classes, and getting in shape. But then finals week came, and I fell into a deep hole of late night snacks, endless hours spent on my laptop, working on the multiple research papers I had to hand in, and studying endlessly. My sleep patterns were unusual, my eating habits more than unhealthy, and my workouts went out of the window.
So when I got to the Aviation Center at Floyd Bennet Field that Saturday morning, I felt horrible. I was not in any way, shape, or form prepared for this race and in the distance, I could already see some of the tricky obstacles I would have to conquer.
It was hard. Running was one thing (I hadn’t gone for a run in longer than I wanted to admit), but the obstacles were the real challenge. I am slightly afraid of heights, and many obstacles consisted of climbing pretty high. I pulled myself through muddy pits, ran through water pools, balanced on planks, and lifted weights on my shoulders while I ran.
And I made it! My time was not the best, but I finished the race, and all of the obstacles. Afterward, I felt like I was on top of the world. Adrenaline was rushing through my body when I conquered that last obstacle and slid into a pit of mud, jumped up, then ran the last bit towards the finish line.
I did it, I ran the Rugged Maniac, and I am now a “rugged maniac!” I felt so exhilarated, happy, and proud of myself. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and it was worth every second. The throbbing in my thighs, each scrape on my knee and elbows, it was all worth it. Next year, I will do it again– this time with the proper training, so I can actually time myself, and do better than this year.
I learned a lot about myself from this experience. Sometimes, even if you are totally unprepared, you have to challenge yourself. Challenge yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s hard, and oftentimes you are stepping out of your comfort zone, but it is more than worth it.
In the near future, when you find yourself stuck in a rut and bored, challenge yourself! There are many ways to challenge yourself other than physically, like a race. How about picking up a book from the library that isn’t just an easy read but actually a challenge to get through? If you dislike long books, challenge yourself to finish one long book this year. It will be rewarding and prove to yourself that you can do anything.
If you are generally a shy person, another way to challenge yourself is to approach total strangers and try and start up a conversation with them. Talking to strangers might be the worst thing you could imagine doing but, guess what? It will give you a nice boost of confidence that will show in the next similar situation.
I am still excited I finished the race and am looking forward to the other challenges that await me in the future. If I can run a 5K obstacle course with no training whatsoever, you too can challenge yourself to do something you’ve never done before!