This morning I ran a mile.
One single mile is approximately 1,600 metres or 1.6kms.
For those of you who run, 1,600 metres won’t seem like much — for those of you who don't run, it might seem like quite a lot.
I completed this one-mile run at the entrance of my gym and then walked into the long, iron-clad gymnastics rig that runs through the centre of the warehouse-style gym and went straight into 100 pull-ups, which were then followed by 200 push-ups and these were followed by 300 squats.
Do you know what I did when I finished the squats?
I went outside and ran another mile.
When I finished this second mile I walked inside, picked up a white-board marker and scrawled my time onto the white-board as some of my closest, safest friends patted me on the back, high-fived, fist-pumped and congratulated me.
When I caught my breath, I went around and patted, fist-pumped, high-fived and thanked these wonderful people for their own effort for they are my safe place at times of discomfort.
This morning we got uncomfortable together and it was wonderful.
This workout is called 'Murph' — it is named after a fallen Navy Seal and is one of the most difficult benchmark workouts in the world of Crossfit.
Over the four years I've been training in this sport-come-fitness regime, Murph has taught me so much about my career and I'd like to share it with you today.
I remember the first day I walked into the gym and saw 'Murph' written up on the white board. It took me a while to comprehend how anyone could do such a thing and a few seconds later it occurred to me, that I was to do such a thing.
Adrenaline runs riot when you're scared and in those moments standing in front of the white board, my adrenaline was flowing, my heart was beating and the little Dimitri inside my head was telling me to 'get the fuck out of here'.
As we were briefed by our coach we were told that 'beginners' were to cut the workout in half — 1,600 metres turned into 800, 100 pull-ups turned to 50 and the rest. I breathed a sigh of relief and realised that instead of a mountain, I was to climb a hill that day.
When I completed it I was elated. Even it was 'Half Murph' — I went from fear to pride to elation to discovering a new version of who I was in the moments that followed.
Today was the third time I have completed this workout in full over the past four years. The fear is the same, the adrenaline is still there, but something else is different.
Each time I see Murph, I am mentally prepared to go through with it and improve my previous time.
I am comfortable in knowing I am in a safe place, with good people who will coach me through it. This morning, I was a better version of the person I was when I first attempted it.
I draw enormous parallels to situations I experience in my career. I see, almost daily an apathy from some people to truly push themselves towards uncomfortable areas.
I'm not talking about a compromise in values, or an imbalance to work/life.
I'm referring to trying and teaching yourself new things towards a better version of you — so many people avoid this. So many people put hurdles in the form of excuses between them and accomplishment.
Yes it's hard. If it wasn't hard it wouldn't work.
The fear will never go away - Murph is Murph for a reason.
But what will go away is the chatter in your mind that tries so very hard to talk you out of it. The chatter that tries to convince you to avoid it, stay in bed or more so, quit all together.
That chatter will be quieter and at best, gone all together.
But first, you have to be open to being uncomfortable, and for most people, they'll come up with all manner of excuses as to why that's too hard.