Pushing Beyond Our Perceived Limits


I’m happy to introduce Amy Christensen who hails from Expand Outdoors and has agreed to join us here today. I love guest bloggers. Not only do I get a day off of blogging (What? You thought this was easy?), but I also love adding new voices. That way it doesn’t always feel like I’m talking to myself here. Thanks so much Amy for being here. Take it away! (KK)

Every day we are faced with decisions. Some days they remain fairly ordinary.
Chocolate chip or oatmeal raison cookies this week? Should I bring a sweater into

Other days, we’re faced with decisions that will alter the trajectory of our lives.

“I could never do that.” “I’m not a runner.”

When I first began to run, these were thoughts that went through my head all the time.
I was dating a runner. My friends were runners. I went to their races and cheered them

But me? No, I couldn’t do that. I wasn’t an athlete. I couldn’t run around the block, much
less three or six miles.

And then something changed. I was 26 with borderline high cholesterol. The kind of
high cholesterol my doctor explained could be lowered with exercise. So I signed up at
a local gym with the intent to swim. For a few weeks, I swam slowly one or two times
a week for about a half hour at a time. Hardly a serious workout, but for me, it seemed
pretty ambitious.

One day, curiosity led me to the treadmill for a “warm-up” before I got in the pool.

I stepped onto the treadmill feeling like a total fraud, sure everyone was looking at me
and silently laughing at my inexperience. I found the start button and increased the
speed. I planned to run for five minutes.

After five minutes I thought maybe I could make it a half mile.

After I reached that half mile, I thought, well… maybe ten minutes. I was feeling
surprisingly okay.

After ten minutes I was close to a mile. Well… I thought… let’s see if I can go a mile.

And so I did. In just over 12 minutes on a cool March morning in 2000, I’d run the first
continuous mile of my entire life.

And in fact, most surprisingly, I’d survived.

I just hadn’t believed it possible until that moment.

Pushing Beyond Our Limits
We all have limiting beliefs that influence our decisions, choices and actions. We’re not

fit enough to get started. We’re too clumsy or uncoordinated. We’re too old. It wouldn’t
be seemly. We’ll be laughed at. Not taken seriously.

I could go on and on. I’m sure you have a number of additions of your own you could

The most life-altering lessons I’ve learned from sports has been this:

I’m stronger than I think I am. I can do more than I ever thought possible.

These realizations transcend from the sports—from 50-mile runs, downhill bike rides
and scaling granite walls—world into my relationships, career choices, life adventures,
and every other aspect of my life.

Sports—particularly those that take place outdoors surrounded by nature—just taught
me (and continues to teach me) these lessons.

Here’s what I know: That we’re ALL stronger than we think. That our bodies are way
more capable than our mind can ever envision. That getting outside, being active can
fundamentally transform your life.

The line our minds draw on our capabilities are infinitely impermanent; ready to be
pushed, challenged and redrawn bigger and more expansive as we continue to grow
and evolve.

Where is your line? Your self-imposed boundary? Can it be pushed? Challenged?
What’s holding you back?

Amy C Christensen is a certified life coach. She launched her company, Expand Outdoors, to help others create healthy, sustainable and active lifestyle changes through the power of the outdoors. Since that first mile back in 2000, Amy found her passion in trail running through the Colorado foothills and continues to find strength and solace through the sport. She has since completed six marathons and three ultra marathons (including a 50-miler), with her sights on a 100 in the future. Based in Boulder, she’s currently traveling around the country with her husband in their customized van. When she’s not working from a local Internet cafe, she can usually be found trail running, hiking, climbing or mountain biking in the great outdoors. You can follow her on twitter  and join Expand Outdoors on Facebook.

6 responses »

  1. I love running, though I had to work hard for that first mile – I was terribly out of shape when I started running (like, I managed half a mile… barely). And within a year I’d done a half-marathon. It was amazing! I’m working on my next challenge now – doing the marketing on my book. I’m not so sure about this one, but hey – gotta challenge a boundary to cross it!

  2. Congrats on the half-marathon – and within a year of starting! That’s wonderful (and shows how committed you were to the sport). I love how running has taught me so much about life and challenges and boundaries. Sounds like you’ve got a great foundation built for that next challenge.

  3. Cool Amy! In some ways I’ve learned my limits, but I bet I’m a long stronger than I think I am – weights are an unexplored territory for me. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Jill – I don’t know you, but feel pretty confident in saying that YES! You are stronger than you think you are. I also think that as much as we learn our limits, they are constantly changing and shifting as we grow. I believe it’s always a good exercise to test them again and again… we never know when they’ve expanded without us realizing it. 🙂

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