Last night I was invited to participate in an annual event: Gutcheck 2012. The event begins at The Irish Shanti in Gunder, IA with a feast – each participant devours a Gunderburger (a 22 ounce burger with fixin’s, click here for photos). After eating the Gunderburger, participants go for an 8-mile run through the nearby countryside. The 8-mile run is followed by the ingesting of a giant tenderloin. As the invitation says,“Gunderburger + 8 miles + Giant Tenderloin = Gutcheck. Take as much time as you need, but you can’t yak.”
While it may sound strange, I have to say I’m honored to be invited. The crew who plans and participates in this event are all alumni, all were student-athletes (track and cross country), and all are decades younger than me. And while I am not a runner, and not likely to begin a running career with Gutcheck 2012, I have to say the concept appeals to me.
Not the part of the challenge that is all about not throwing up. But the concept of an event which requires you to push beyond the limits of what you have thought yourself capable of doing. That kind of exercise is valuable in many areas of life – not just the novelty run arena. Just imagine…
- …if you pushed your limits by asking for what you want. In your job, in your relationships, from God. So often, I find myself holding back from articulating what I want – whether what I want is something I’ve already earned, something that should be accorded to anyone with whom we interact, or is simply something I want. Where is it written that wanting things is inherently wrong or selfish? Or that in order to have the things we want in life we need to wait in silence for those things to be given to us? I’ve come to believe that asking is often an eye opening experience for both parties, in part because until we say it to someone else, we often don’t know for sure what it is we want. But also, others cannot assist us in achieving the things we want if they don’t know or we don’t ask. And I have truly found that, by and large, people actually want to assist others in getting what they want in life.
- …if you pushed your emotional boundaries and reached out to new people and new kinds of relationships in your life. How might your days be enriched by including a diversity of ideas, styles, personalities? Pushing the limits of my openness to others has brought amazing gifts to my life in recent years. The results: incredible people, wonderful experiences, nuances of friendship and relatedness I hadn’t known were possible. It isn’t easy to maintain openness, to push emotional boundaries. After all, we set those boundaries for a reason. But boundaries are meant to shift over time, and it is healthy to test and reshape them.
- …if in the grand tradition of The Gutcheck, you pushed your physical limits beyond your comfort zone? What might you be capable of if you got out of your head and into your body? Here’s what I’ve discovered: my body, abused and tired as it was from years of excess weight and sedentary days, is AMAZING. Resilient. Strong. And capable of more effort, endurance and courage than I ever understood.
So, I may not participate in Gutcheck 2012: The Event. (Although I’m keeping my fingers crossed there’s a video again this year!) But I think it is important to occasionally stop and do a personal Gutcheck. In what areas of my life have I allowed myself to grow too comfortable with mediocrity? In what ways can I stretch myself in order to discover something new or to enrich my days? Sometimes, we might take too big of a stretch and end up yakking. So what? Yakking happens. It may not be polite to put it in these terms, but I’d rather throw up, make a mess, and move on than not make the attempt to stretch further in my life.