The race official eyed the two of us up as we came into the start/finish area. The woman, let’s call her Dawn, and I had just finished a 7 mile loop for the 4th time. At 28 miles, this was the furthest either of us had ever run. The trail event we were participating in had a simple concept; run as many miles as you can in 8 hours. At 8 hours, the race ends and if you’re out on the trail, those miles don’t count. We were currently at 6.5 hours.
It was decision time with an hour and a half remaining. Either we venture out on the 7 mile loop again or go onto a 1 mile loop and run that as many times as possible. Given I had some hot-spots on my feet and toes weren’t feeling good, decided to not risk finishing one more 7 mile loop and opted for the 1 mile instead.
Dawn, however, had a different idea. She walked up to the race official and said “I’m done. I got nothin’ left.”
The race official looked at her and snickered. “Don’t talk yourself into giving up. Just 10% more. You’ve got 10%!”
Dawn looked at him for a second and said OK, she’d try the one mile loop a couple times.
The race official’s words stuck with me. Shouldn’t she know when to throw in the towel? Aren’t we the ones who realize when it’s time to call it quits? Would it be better to give up now when she can recover faster than keep going and recovery is harder and longer? What does 10% give a person?
Turns out, 10% gives you a lot. It gave Dawn 3 more miles. It gave me 5. The pride we felt becoming 50k finishers will stick with us (despite losing 2 toe nails)!
When you’re working on a tough project, with a team or in an uncomfortable situation, there will be times you want to quit. But what if you stuck it out a little bit longer? What would 10% more give you? It may get you to the finish line, or maybe past it and you’ll accomplish more than you bargained for.
Next time you’re ready talk yourself into quitting, ask what just 10% more would give you. You might be surprised!