Courage over Comfort

“We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.” ~Brene Brown

At the beginning of 2016, I thought “believe” would be my 2016 word. As 2016 has gotten underway, my 2016 word has evolved into the word “Courage,” which is the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous. Believe is still an underlying theme of courage for me, but there are so many other areas of my life that require courage as well. Over the last couple of months, the word courage has evolved into the phrase “Courage Over Comfort,” which has gotten me through multiple challenges in all aspects of life so far in 2016.

Courage over Comfort in my relationships

The Iron Hippie and I have a great relationship, but like any couple, we do have our differences and disagreements. Being vulnerable by sharing my thoughts and feelings in a new and different way is hard and takes a lot of courage, but it will be worth it when this uncomfortable method becomes “comfortable” and less difficult one day. “Courage over comfort” is where the magic happens!!

comfortable with uncomfortable

Courage over Comfort at work

I am not an emotional person, so incorporating more Developmental Designs (a social-emotional approach to learning) into my lessons and classroom is uncomfortable and has definitely taken courage. I keep waiting for the day when this style of learning into my lessons and classrooms becomes more comfortable, but so far it just hasn’t happened…so…I guess I’ll just living the “courage over comfort” theme at work also.

Courage over Comfort in training

Leap day was full of “Courage over Comfort” in my training. An FTP test on the bike was staring me in the face from my Training Peaks calendar, and I was intimidated. I have done these many times, but have never had everything fall together so I could experience a “successful” test, and this was precisely why I was intimidated. Sure I’ve seen improvements with them, but there has always been something that has happened for me to think “it could have been better if…” when I was done. This time around, I was determined it would be different. I would conquer this FTP test and not let it conquer me! #believe

I picked a gear and cadence and was determined to stick with it! 5 minutes in, I felt good and was questioning if I should be going a little harder. I decided to stick with my plan and reevaluate later in the test. 10 minutes in, things were getting tougher, but it was still doable. 15 minutes in, I just wanted to take a break. This is when I started mentally telling myself “Courage over Comfort” over and over and over. I pushed through the last 5 minutes and walla…I had the most successful FTP test I’ve ever had!! Why was this test so “successful?” It wasn’t about the 12 watt increase in power output, although I am incredibly happy and proud of my improvements. It was about my execution of the FTP test. This was the first test that I put it all together…physically, mentally, emotionally, and nutritionally. I didn’t have any lingering “it could have been better if…” when I finished this FTP test, and it felt better than AWESOME!!

FTP test results...My normalized power was 189 watts...this was 12 watts higher than peak Ironman Boulder training in 2015!!
FTP test results…My normalized power was 189 watts…this was 12 watts higher than peak Ironman Boulder training in 2015!!

My run on March 1 was also FULL of “courage over comfort!” I had a 4×1 mile progressive repeats run staring at me from Training Peaks all day long!! I knew this would be a tough run, since my legs were exhausted from my FTP test on the bike the day before. It was a cold day with ice on the roads (thanks to an early morning freezing rain, snow mix…gotta love Iowa winters), so I opted to run on the treadmill at the gym after work. When I got to the gym, there was no cardio equipment!! What?! They got all new cardio equipment in that morning and were in the process of putting all of the machines together, but so far, no treadmills had been assembled. So it was time for plan B…back to school I went to run on OLD treadmills with no televisions, no people, nothing to distract me from my own potentially negative thoughts. Thankfully I did have music on my phone to jam to as I ran. After my 2 mile warm-up, I set the treadmill to just under a 9 minute/mile pace, which I estimated to be my current 1/2 marathon pace (although I haven’t been running consistently for long, so I had no idea how accurate this was). With each mile, I dropped ~15 seconds off per mile. The first couple of miles weren’t bad, but by the 4th mile repeat, I was running at an 8:13 minute/mile pace and thought I was going to die! Hello “courage over comfort” and goodbye negative thoughts!! I was so proud of myself for not quitting when it got tough…boy did I think REALLY hard about making the pace on the treadmill easier so I didn’t have to work so hard, but I just kept telling myself “courage over comfort” as I pushed on through that final mile. As I ran my cool down mile, mentally I was super strong and on cloud nine, but physically, my legs were TRASHED!! So this is what it feels like to REALLY push myself out of my comfort zone…


Change is uncomfortable, but that is why I have been embracing #courageovercomfort as my theme and mantra in all aspects of my life in 2016. Strength doesn’t come from what we can do, it comes from overcoming the things we once thought we couldn’t do. If dreams come true when we step out of our comfort zone, then you can bet I will be tapping into a lot more courage and a lot less comfort this year!!

Do you stick with what is comfortable in your life, or do you rise to the challenge of trying to make the uncomfortable more comfortable? Where are you courageous in your life? What is your word/phrase for 2016?

13 thoughts on “Courage over Comfort

  1. I love that you’re applying your Courage over Comfort in ALL aspects of your life. It’s a bit easier to step outside the comfort zone in our fun places, but work and relationships, too? That’s awesome!

    1. Thanks Laura!! It hasn’t been as easy at work and relationships, but that is why it is a work in progress and one I will continue to work on. 😉

  2. You’re truly setting yourself up for success this year-getting uncomfortable is hard, but it’s going to be rewarding. I’ve finally found the courage to ask for help. I’ve been wandering away in tri/fitness with no real knowledge or realistic goals for years. I know that seeking professional help will get me closer to my dreams.

    1. Thanks Amy!! Asking for help is hard, but it getting the help we need is so worth the rewards!! I’m so glad you are getting the help you need and can’t wait to see the outcome of this help!!

      1. I’ve waited so long because I never felt like I had all my ducks in a row-time, energy, eating, etc. I finally feel like I’m ready 😀

  3. Courage is a powerful word!! Looks like you are definitely keeping it real. Going for it….being uncomfortable now will only make you comfortable later!! I have definitely learned to be out of my comfort zone a lot!!!
    I don’t really have a word/phrase for 2016 but i’m trying to live no regrets!! 🙂

    1. Courage is a powerful word! Leaning out of the comfort zone is very uncomfortable, but it will be so worth it later!!
      I think you have your phrase…live no regrets!! 😉

  4. Congratulations on your FTP test and run test. I just did an FTP and 10K test a little over a week ago and can completely relate to the feelings you express about courage. I was surprised when you mentioned that you are not a very emotional person. I sense so much emotion in your writing. Maybe you just don’t know it, but you do show emotion and passion in your writing. 🙂

    1. Thanks Kristen! You rocked your bike and run tests also!! Such a good feeling to reap the rewards of hard work. I do express emotion in writing, but am more introverted and don’t outwardly express emotion as much in person, unless it is triathlon related. Then the passion is very obvious 😉

  5. I believe in pushing outside of the comfort zone to really see improvements in triathlon. It can be so hard sometimes, but when you see improvements, it is so rewarding! I really loved this post BTW!

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