Not Looking Back – Skate across America Day 42

November 14th, 2010

Total Distance for today: 35 miles
Total Distance for Tour: approx. 368 miles
STATUS: in route to Richmond, VA
I made the local radio today! Some people I spoke to near Ashland, VA mentioned that they heard about me coming. Apparently, there’s some guy who is skating across America and was just spotted on US-1 between Fredericksburg and Ashland, VA! 😉

Pushing Boundaries

Today was no cake-skate ;-). I knew it was going to be long and difficult, but it was perhaps more so than I expected. By the end, I was more than relieved to see the RV parked at the Walmart parking-lot in Ashland, VA, just north of Richmond. These longer skates, approaching 40 miles, are still near the out limits of my one day energy reserves, especially when they fall near the end of a string of medium to long skates. I can make them, but by the time I finish, my body makes it a point to let me know that I’m stretching the boundaries a bit. Honestly, the real challenge is with the hills. Today was another 35 miles of up, down, up, down, up, and it took character to keep pressing on. Interestingly, I actually finished the skate rather quickly, as I rolled in about four and half hours after starting, and that included brief stops for snacks and talking to the locals. I’m not breaking any records, but considering the terrain, I was surprised.

Not Looking Back

I have this dumb habit of stopping at the top of tough hills to look back on my accomplishment. It’s kind of a way of saying, “That hurt, but look what I just did!” I tried something new today: I didn’t look back after climbing hills. I didn’t even stop to catch my breath as I’ve often done in the past (save a couple times at the end). Basically, apart from some brief snack breaks, I skated straight through all 35 miles.

I think there’s something to this “not looking back” thing, because it requires a braver mindset than what I’ve shown so far. It’s a way of physically and mentally reinforcing the concept that the hill I just climbed was so small a challenge that I don’t even need to bother looking back on it. That’s powerful, because psychologically, we frame new challenges based on the experiences we’ve already had. If the last hill you conquered was so easy that you didn’t even feel the need to look back, why should this next hill be so difficult?

I see no problem in basking in the glow of our accomplishments from time to time, as it builds confidence, but it takes true courage to always be gazing forward toward a goal that no hill could ever stand in the way of…


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