That’s a stretch

(Click photo for full size)
This is Patterson Pass, a winding road that connects Tracy with Livermore, California.  It snakes through windmill farms and dry pasture, often narrowing to just one lane, and the view from the peak is incredible.  It’s kind of like those desolate roads you see in halftime commercials, where the luxury sportscar whooshes by, stirring up a pile of leaves in its wake.

After running the 2-mile “one tree hill” last weekend, I decided to take on this 7 mile run on Patterson Pass this morning.  It took me 45 minutes to go steadily uphill.  30 minutes to turn around and go back down.  What was I thinking?!  I’ll tell you exactly what I was thinking.  I told myself to keep running no matter what; no matter how short my steps became; no matter how much I had to lean uphill; no matter how much I thought my knees and calves were straining, I was not going to stop.

The giant windmills with their huge propeller blades were still today – like silent sentinel warbirds waiting for battle on a WWII runway.  Other than a redtailed hawk and 2 motorcycles that passed me on the way up, I was the only thing moving on that hill.  It was a cool experience.

I’m setting goals now for things I DON’T think I can do. Let’s call them stretch goals.  Running 7 times around our flat 1 mile lake is something I KNOW I can do.  Running up a steep hill is something entirely different.  With each stretch goal I achieve, I gain a new level of confidence, which in turn gives me faith that I can stretch again.

To those of you thinking about your own stretch, consider this… one year ago I could barely run 2 miles without stopping to walk (and breathing heavily.)  Over the last year, I incrementally worked my way up to hiking Yosemite’s halfdome, running a half-marathon, and now I’m starting into distance trail running.  There was no magic trick.  Each new goal started with a belief and a single step.

How are you going to stretch in 2010?

Explore posts in the same categories: Motivation

10 Comments on “That’s a stretch”

  1. Fred Hensel Says:

    I like this one David. My Honda Fit and I are going to find and tackle that road. Good Work !

  2. Another Great post, David!
    Yes, that is a beautiful picture. I accept the challenge to create a stretch goal for 2010. I need to give it some serious thought.

    • davidgoad Says:

      That’s the spirit Stephen! I know you are almost at your elastic limit now, so a stretch for you will really be a stretch!

  3. Jeff G Says:

    Challenge Idea!
    How about joining me to run the Deadwood-Michelson Trail Half-Marathon, the first weekend of June in Deadwood ,S.D. (elev. 6500)
    It is a run on an old converted railway bed that travels approx. 30 miles into Deadwood. They do a full Marathon, 13 miles uphill 5% then 13 miles downhill 5%. We can do the latter! I did this back on my 45th and would like to do it again for my 50th!
    Game Bro?

    • davidgoad Says:

      Hey no fair calling me out in front of everyone here. But I must say… any place with the word “dead” in it sounds like a hoot. I’ll check the social calendar and see if I can swing it.

  4. Andy Says:

    Very nice, David. I really like the picture. There is no way for me to drive that road without thinking I’m in first place on a road course with 20 high performance cars trying to pass me and win the “race”. Just my little racing fantasy. (I worked for 5 years or so in that industry.)

    I think it’s awesome that you’ve taken a real interest in running, and that you’ve made incredible progress over the past year. I get tired just driving that road, much less actually running on it. I am proud of you for your running achievements.

    So you know, running and I don’t mix. I like to eat a lot and then try to not move around too much:-). With regards to running, the following bit of information is important for you and is really a public service message of sorts (my kids are fully aware of this): If you see me running, call the police because somebody is chasing me.

  5. Hi, Dave. I love that – the challenge.

    I took on a few challenges these last years, and the more I think about it, the farther along I get with them without paying them constant attention.

    In 2005 with the stroke I had, I couldn’t pick up and hold a tooth brush with my left hand in order to put the paste on it. I also was struggling with ly left leg, which still has some sensation issues. My left hand does too.

    These conditions set me up for the following two challenges…

    One was that I loved racquetball. Before my stroke, I would play about 1 hour and 15 minutes… then need a break. I’d usually be finished for the day, along with my friend Kevin. Now I play doubles for often three hours straight, two or three times a week, and now I run all over the court.

    Another is that I hadn’t played guitar for nearly two decades, then joined a rock band to play lead guitar and sing. I was very surprised to find that after a few weeks the old licks, AND some new ones, were still within my abilities and my left hand was not a hindrance. We’re doing well, and considering our first club engagements after a couple of successful parties and club appearances.

    I guess they call this complete recovery. I am off of my meds now (for high blood pressure, mild diabetes and hypertension). I still take aspirin, but that’s not so big a deal. I modified my eating habits, drink lots of water, no sodas, limit my sodium and sugar, and still power down the coffee.

    This next year I will be starting a new business as an officiant (joining up with Clint, in a way…), and promoting my existing book, and writing two more! How’s that for challenges? Writing the first book (130 pages of good stuff for couples getting married) was a huge hurdle. I almost starved to death while writing it because of lack of productive other work. But now it is an asset that has done two things for me – introduced me to the success of achievement in writing, and given me the opportunity to develop that love – I LOVE to write.

    The one-step-at-a-time concept is vital to movement and progress. I’d like to add this: THAT step doesn’t have to be a small one. It is only in our minds that we feel that we need to take it easy, be careful, and not bite off more than we can chew. With this in mind, those going for the stretch goal can have confidence, and also look forward to the accomplishments of the future with anticipation and excitement! I know I do! :o)

    …maybe it’s more beneficial to find out just how much one can chew than to never know! Besides, we will more than likely be very surprised.

    Take care, Dave. Thanks for another wonderful excerpt in the life of an awesome thinker and a great motivator – YOU!


  6. Peggy Says:


  7. This is an amazingly beautiful place! I enjoyed reading your entry!

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