OK, let me level with you. You have the ability to hit your goal.
You probably missed a training session or two. You might not have grunted out as many miles as you had hoped. Injury might have threatened to take your dreams off their rails.
But the capacity to get this done… it’s there… you just have to own it.
Negative thoughts are going to creep into your head whenever your glucose drops… or if you allow your mind to wander away from the present moment. But you have the power to control what’s going on inside your head… and keep the carbs flowing.
Is it going to hurt? Hell yeah it will. That’s what you signed up for. Be prepared for the pain. I always greet it like, “Oh there you are, I’ve been waiting to wrestle with you.” Pain is all part of the experience.
So few people now a-days get to truly experience pain. To wrestle their inner demons and beat them down. To strip away everything and see what they’re made of. To become ultra.
The more tired you get, the more you push back. The more of you that gets pulled back, the deeper you dig.
You must commit to the experience. When you press that races register button, you need to fully commit to the experience. To the pain, to the fatigue, to the discomfort.
Even though endurance races are long, they are really only a tiny fraction of your lifetime… a drop in the ocean. But their lessons, those crazy out-of-this-world experiences, last forever. And they, like no other moments in your life, have the capacity to fundamentally change who you are and how you can experience the rest of your life. From the mundane to the traumatic.
In a race like this, there will be challenges beyond those you signed up for. A closed aid station, a lost gel, a broken shoe. Who knows. But you will always be OK. You come back. You keep fighting. You confront each obstacle that is set before you with strength and optimism. And that my friends, is how you win a race (and in this length, let’s get real… it’s a race with yourself).
The beautiful thing about endurance racing is the necessity to live in the moment. There is no future you, no past you. Just primal you… right now, living the reality that is right in front of you. Each comfort is luxury. Every sense altered.
I like to think about the people that inhabited the earth long before we did. How they would have been taking on the terrain. What they would have been going through. Why they were out there.
I also like to think about all the people that would gladly trade places with me. Maybe they’ve passed on. Maybe they’re injured. Or perhaps the most tragic, maybe they’ve just lost touch with their own fitness or sense of adventure.
And I think about all the people that are on course with me at that very moment. Sharing the suffering, sharing the joy, sharing the pain, sharing the experience.
Where gratitude begins, suffering ends.
Of course, gratitude and joy are not the easiest emotions to tap into when your body and soul are bumping up against their breaking points. You’ve probably heard the expression, fake it to make it. If you find yourself in a low point, smile on the outside – until you’re smiling on the inside. And keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Have any other mental or mindset strategies for endurance events? Leave a comment below!
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