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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We’ve all seen the “Lindsay video” by now. You know… the one where the tiny powerhouse with the big heart effortlessly hauls all her competitors over Everest and then goes on to win the Tougher Mudder World Championship.
What got me was that many of the commenters, seemingly deeply involved in the OCR community, had no idea that in all Tough Mudder events, we help each other.
That’s what makes us mudders.
And I’ve heard more and more competitors talking about how they refuse to buy in. It’s a competitive race right?
Or the rule that if you can do an obstacle solo, you don’t have to help anyone else.
It’s an interesting debate. But I know that even if I can solo Blockness now, I couldn’t before. Or that take the ropes off Everest and I’m useless.
And I also don’t think that matters.
Tough Mudder is so much more than a race – or an event. It always has been. For me it’s a philosophy. A commitment to better myself in body and spirit. A decision that I want to be a part of a community. An understanding that working toward a crazy mental and physical challenge only means anything because of the people I’m out there with.
You can still work toward your goal while lifting others around you up… both literally and figuratively. Case and point, Lindsay.
And the coolest part is that as you get better as an athlete, you get better at muddering. The fitter you get, the easier you are to assist, and the more you can lend a hand over tricky obstacles. It gives a deeper purpose to your training.
But what about elites? If all our goals have value, why let the contenders through?
The same reason you stay to the right on an escalator. If you’re moving at a more relaxed pace, and someone is trying to haul ass up the stairs to get to where they’re going, you step aside. Maybe you’ll even hold the door if you see them coming.
There is almost no better feeling than crushing a lofty goal. But it’s fleeting. Being a good person and living to a higher standard of kindness, brotherhood and compassion brings lasting joy.
Sure it’s kinda cheesy, but it’s true.
It’s not what you do or how successful you are out there on course that matters as a Mudder, it’s who you are.
We humans are a funny creature. There’s something we love about stuffing ourselves silly at holiday meals, even if we feel awful after it.
I’ve gone through more than a few holiday feasts on both ends of the spectrum: trying to make race weight for a fall event while sadly munching celery in the corner – to post season binging, where I could hardly roll myself out of my chair after.
I can easily say my best festive meals were balanced. Enough great food to leave me feeling satisfied, without so much I felt stuffed.
1. Drink a ton of water pre-festivity. Not so much you’re going to land in the hospital with hyponatremia… but enough you’re not thirsty and compensating for mild dehydration with food.
2. Try to time a quick and dirty quality workout before dinner. Your body will then be primed to soak up those calories and put them to good use. Plus food tastes so much better after a workout. Doesn’t it?
3. Stick to the veggie plate for appies and the fruit plate for dessert. Think more about “sampling” the other stuff.
4. Eat your meal on a big bed of greens. Not only will they provide you with a huge hit of nutrients and fill you up, but it’s hard to fit a ton of stuff on your plate when lettuce is threatening to push everything else off.
5. Don’t wear sweat pants… or pyjama pants. Wear pants that don’t give. And for god sakes don’t open the button.
6. I also try not to waste empty calories on stuff I don’t love or isn’t special. If someone baked their grandma’s age old pumpkin pie recipe from scratch, hell yeah I’m eating that. If someone brought cookies from Costco however, not so much. Unless you LOVE cookies from Costco, then those empty calories were not in vain.
7. Relax and enjoy yourself. If someone asked you if you think you could loose 100lbs by only eating kale once a month for a whole day, you’d probably roll your eyes. Same goes with indulging. The key is to not tax your digestive system so much you feel awful… while enjoying a day you will never get to see again with family, friends and food 🙂
Wait, does Costco even sell cookies?
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