That’s right. If you don’t believe you can, then you can’t. This statement hit close to home last week.
“You need to do this for you. And if you don’t want it enough, then you sure as hell won’t achieve it. So take the easy way out…”
My fellow paramedics and paramedic students know exactly what I’m talking about. We make a huge sacrifice for this program. We shut out the whole world just so we can focus on all the crazy shit we have to do in order to get that little patch. Relationships fail, stress levels rise and we soon forget what it was like before the days of wearing EMS pants EVERY SINGLE DAY OF OUR LIVES.
It’s hell. We start asking ourselves if this is really what we wanted. We eat, sleep, breathe ACLS algorithms. We dream about working cardiac arrests, even when we’re not sleeping…and we usually DON’T sleep. We bust our asses to stay on top of the constant flow of new information…our brains are full.
If you’re female, you lose your sense of womanhood. You wonder if you’ll ever wear makeup and high heels again. You become one of the boys. Wives and girlfriends hate you. They think you’re sleeping with their man. “You home wrecker!” “I can’t believe you would choose a field primarily made up of men!” “Something must be wrong with her. Why would a chick want to work car wrecks, house fires and take rope rescue?”
Then we have that little test widely known as “THE MEGACODE” (dun dun duuuuuuuuuun!) We hear horror stories of how this guy failed…and this girl forgot to do this…and that guy got so worked up he started to give atropine for PSVT. “Don’t worry, you’ll most likely fail it the first time.” Really? As if working a 30 minute (simulated) cardiac arrest isn’t enough, we have to listen to all the horror stories beforehand. We set ourselves up for failure. We feed off each other’s negative energy. We act like complete idiots when our time comes…and forget everything we knew so well 10 minutes ago. “Shit. I’m going to fail out of medic school. Why did I ever think this was a good idea?”
This is where you can take one of two roads: Road 1- HTFU and do work or Road 2- take the easy way out and give up. Which one do you think I took? That’s right…
They never said it would be easy…they said it would be worth it.
My training took a similar route last week. I felt shitty. I ran shitty. This made me feel shitty all over again. Negative energy feeds off itself in a vicious cycle. I beat myself up. I went into each run with a poor mindset. If you think it, you will do it. The stress of my poor performance in school bled over to help create my poor performance during training.
Why am I even running? This is hell. I can’t do this. “Take the easy way out and remain unhealthy and continue to gain weight because you can’t realize you are the only one hurting yourself.”
“I run because it’s so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can’t. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you’re capable of so much more than you thought.”
And then something great happens…
Yesterday was my long run day. Lauren, her boyfriend and myself went to Steele Creek Park for a 9 miler. I always get a little nervous before a long run…especially when I run with others. I’m always a bit worried that I won’t be able to keep up or even finish.
We started running…30 minutes into it I was feeling pretty good. We kept a nice pace and I was able to talk the entire way. 45 minutes…I had to eat a GU. My legs were starting to get tired. My lungs felt great. I learned that eating a GU while running is difficult. I thought I was going to aspirate. GU in the lungs can’t be a good thing. 🙂
1 hour. We are almost there! Other than the slight numbness in my right foot and a little ITB tightness, I was hanging in there. At this point I just had to keep the bad vibes out of my head and keep moving. “Good thoughts. Even breaths. Keep moving.”
At mile 7 I was feeling the legs tighten up as they usually do. I had energy though. I even had energy to step it up a little. At mile 8 we sped up our pace by about 30 seconds. The last mile is usually my best. Then I heard Lauren’s Garmin beep…WE DID IT. It was my longest run of 2012, Lauren’s longest run ever and I felt pretty damn good about it. We managed an avg pace of 9:45, pretty solid for 9 miles. Finally, something I can smile about.
In a span of 2 weeks I experienced joy and defeat. I failed my code and experienced a stress I can’t even put into words. I sucked at running and seriously considered giving it up. I picked myself up and put the pieces back together…I couldn’t throw it all away after coming so far. I confidently passed my code the second time and finished off the week with a solid long distance run. This roller coaster is whooping my butt!
I’ve been hard on myself lately and my heart has been heavy, but I’ve never felt closer to being a medic and never felt better about my life as a runner.