There are many sayings that have gone the way of the dodo. Like, “That’s gone the way of the dodo”. Another one is, “That guy/girl ate your lunch”. Or its presence tense of, “That guy/girl is eating your lunch”. As a kid, I would hear this saying on the basketball courts, in the school yard and anywhere someone was getting the best of me. I never knew where the term came from, but I knew it meant I sucked. Whenever, I use the phrase now, people look at me perplexed and comment that they didn’t bring a lunch.
I frequently wear a shirt that reads, “I eat hills for breakfast”. I probably wear it way too often, due to recently doing a bit of minimalism on my t-shirt collection. I bought this shirt not only because it looks cool, but I thought it said all you needed to know about me. I guess this is my version of the cross-fit shirt. Because, God forbid, we go two seconds without knowing where you go to work out. I bought this shirt after a friend described me as a Billy Goat one day while witnessing me chugging up an intense incline. I decided right then based on absolutely nothing else that I was a hill climbing machine, I now could figuratively eat a hill for breakfast.
Following the revelation of my greatness I participated in a race in Las Vegas the day after Thanksgiving. The course is 7 miles long. Miles two and three were more hiking/rock scrambling than running. I love this race and look forward to it every year. Mile one I was cruising, passing people with relative ease. Except for the people I couldn’t pass. As I hit mile two I had supreme confidence. Then about 300 yards later, my breakfast got hungry. I started to struggle breathing and my quads felt like someone lit them on fire with a molten pick ax. This only got worse the higher I climbed. My brain started to turn on me and then my inner smack talker went to work. You know things are going bad when your brain starts to talk crap. After 45 miserable minutes I was on the summit. The only thing I could think of was going home and burning my damn shirt. In my mind I was now the guy who wears a TapOut shirt but has never seen a heavy bag. I was a fraud. I had some real internal debate happening.
I had to decide if a $25-dollar t-shirt and one performance defined me. On that day, that hill ate my lunch and probably my dinner. Should I buy a shirt that states, “I eat flat roads as a small snack”? Or do I have to realize, we will all have days that tests us and pushes our limits and that we will not always live up to our own insane expectations. Does that make us failures? Does that make us frauds in our own eyes? I think it makes us human. I think these failures is was propels us to achieve success. Whatever success means to you. I hope whenever these days bear their ugly heads we learn something about ourselves. I hope we learn to push forward, to train harder, to find success even in the face of failure. I know I learned something that day, my wardrobe sucks.