They say that nothing worth doing is easy. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. On this journey to becoming an ultramrathoner I’ve figured something out: the closer you get to achieving your goal, the more it seems that the Universe is conspiring against you. Right when you are on the verge of doing something really great, is when everything starts dumping on you. This is when you start questioning everything… Your ability, your motivation, your worthiness, the worthiness of whatever goal you are chasing, even your own destiny which at one time may have seemed so clear.
Only those who persevere succeed. This is especially true with those of us involved in endurance sports. I mean, isn’t that the very the definition of endurance? Carrying on long after your mind and body have told you to quit? When you tap into that well of the human spirit, when you dig deep despite all the adversity that comes your way, THAT is where you find the key to success. In running, career, marriage and family, whatever.
I know that this all sounds very cliche’. However, it’s quite a breakthrough for me. I’ve come to realize that maybe this is in fact why I run. I’ve been asked the question so many times, yet it seems I don’t have one concrete answer. I find I’m always able to come up with something new that I hadn’t thought about before.
Recently I had decided that just maybe it IS my mid-life crisis. I’ve often preached of the health benefits of running. I’ve told of my weight loss story umpteen times. I’ve often said that running makes me want to be a better person, husband, and father. I’ve grown to love the “me” time that running allows me. I know that it helps me to organize my thoughts and at times I need to run to make it through my day. Running is like meditation to me, it’s my way if connecting with the infinite. And yet sometimes it is only about the endorphin rush.
Take all of these perfectly legitimate reasons for me to run and to continue running, break them down (or add them up, I’m not quite sure), and what it’s really about is achievement. And I don’t mean achievement in a superficial “look what I did” kind of way, but in the most deeply personal way.
You see, my whole life has been about quitting. I’ve found a way and a reason to give-up on just about everything I’ve ever attempted to do (which says a lot because I’ve always been a dreamer). I’m the guy that comes-up with all the crazy ideas. I like to plan things. I’ve just never been very good at execution. I’ve quit on the football field and wrestling mat. I’ve given-up on entrepreneurial ventures and full-fledged careers. I’ve even given-up on love and relationships.
I guess that’s it really. It’s not necessarily about achievement, per se, but more about proving something to myself. I need to prove to myself that I can persevere, that I can endure. I’m sure that it will eventually turn into how much can I endure, how far can I push my limits. In fact, it already has. But I’m convinced that somewhere down that rabbit hole is where the secrets I’ve been searching for my whole life can be found.
There is no tomorrow… Go out and GET it today!