In just 2 short weeks I will be taking on the Sheep Mountain 50 Mile Endurance Run, training is done, except for some short fast runs.
Now it’s time for that asshole in my head to try and throw every bit of doubt that he can at me. Did you train enough, is you nutrition on point, do you have the right shoe sock combo, do you have a back up shoe sock combo, is your pack light enough, do you have your blister prevention under control, did you do enough mobility work, did you strength train enough, will the weather be okay, did you strengthen your ankles enough, is your hydration and electrolytes dialed in, will your crew be at the checkpoints, will you make the cutoff times, will you finish or will you blow up at mile 3, and on and on. Man he spouts a lot of non-sense.
These are all the things that asshole is going on about in my head. That asshole has yet to learn that I have the ability to persevere even when shit gets tough. I have made a commitment to myself that I will not quit, I will give it my all and race day will tell me weather I prepared enough, not the asshole in my head.
The last four years have been an amazing journey of transformation, continually trying to better than the day before. I did not think four years ago I would be taking on ultra marathons, let alone even running. Yet here I am getting ready to toe the line for my second ultra. Almost 109,400 people in the U.S. finished an ultra in 2019 out of the roughly 330,000,000. I like those odds. I am looking forward to a really long day in the mountains. It will be epic to say the least.
I leave you with this, I try and live life to the absolute fullest and I feel I am doing a pretty good job of it. I have never been happier or healthier. So ask yourself, are YOU living life to the fullest, are you happy even when shit sucks, are you healthy and free of prescription medications and chronic disease, are you living in the moment? If not, WHY? You only get one shot at life on this big rock, so quit waiting for tomorrow to come, it may never show up! The fact is we will all die, and none of us have an expiration date tattooed on us. So start today, find your passion and live it to the fullest. There is far more to life than bitching and moaning on social media about life not being fair. We are all trying to get through life and die at some point. We all experience major ups and downs in life, no one is safe from that. So go right now and start pursuing something YOU are passionate about, and keep pursuing, it will reward you.
“Think of the life you have lived until now as over and, as a dead man, see what’s left as a bonus and live it according to Nature. Love the hand that fate deals you and play it as your own, for what could be more fitting?” – Marcus Aurelius
“You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.” – Marcus Aurelius
“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” – Epictetus
If you look up adversity in the dictionary, its definition is: a state or instance of serious or continued difficulty or misfortune. I see adversity as becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable.
Why is it that we have become so content with being comfortable? Short answer: It is easy. We are so afraid of being uncomfortable that we seek comfort around every corner. We do not want to miss a meal, be too cold, too hot, the list goes on. We never want to experience a moment of discomfort, but there is a sort of magic or a superpower in learning to be comfortable with uncomfortable. Through discomfort is where we really find out about ourselves.
That is what I really like about ultra-running, pushing yourself beyond anything you previously thought possible, turning the impossible into possible. I never thought I’d be running anything but my mouth, I was never a fan of running anything over 100 Meters, because well it sucked to go any further than that, and well I didn’t need to breathe for those few seconds. Now I look forward to my long runs of 5,6,7 hours. I now feel that anything under an hour is just a waste of time. Man have I come a long way.
It has been through this continual discomfort of pushing myself to run longer and do more and more difficult challenges that help me to continue to grow as a person. Trust me I want to be comfortable too, but now I know that once I push through the uncomfortable, I have created a new set point of what comfortable really is.
That defining moment for me came when I got to the top of my first 14,000-foot peak Grays Peak in Colorado followed by Torreys Peak after. That was two peaks in one day for my first ascent of a 14000-foot peak. I am not going to lie, there was a lot of hard work that when in to preparing to get to the top and back down safely, and when I got to the top I cried like nobody’s business. It was one of the greatest feelings I have ever had, especially considering I thought I would never be able to really enjoy hiking because of the medical issues I had.
I guess what I am trying to say is next time you are feeling a little uncomfortable, embrace it and persevere through it. You will come out the other side knowing you have a new comfortable.
Two of my favorite quotes come from Ken Chlouber, the Leadville 100 Founder: “Make friends with pain and you’ll never be alone.” And “You are better than you think you are, and you can do more than you think you can.”
So, quit trying to be so damn comfortable all the time and face some adversity, and grow as a person.