How many times have you been faced with something that you did not think you would be able to overcome? I’m not talking about just during training or races, but what about everyday life?
Has there ever been a time where you started thinking that you don’t have what it takes? That your best won’t be good enough?
And, yet, somehow you find a way. You get through it. You dig deep inside of yourself, go some place else, and find strength.
Do you ever wonder what happens? Where do our minds go? Have you ever looked back at something and wondered how in the heck you were able to do it?
I’ve been there. I have friends that have been there, too.
Most recently, a friend of mine was recounting her experience during an endurance race. There were times during the day when she was not sure that she could go on. She literally did not think she could take another step. But, she kept moving, putting one foot in front of the other.
Eventually, she finished. When I asked her what was going through her mind, she said she really wasn’t sure. She just kept moving forward, pushing through. Almost as if she was on autopilot.
I know that when I have been in a situation, with training, racing, or life, and I hit that wall, I go within myself. I remember all of the pain and work that I have put in, and I embrace it. In the same way, when I experience pain and difficulty during training, I acknowledge it, I let myself feel all of it, and I put it in the bank to draw upon later when I need it. I know that from that experience, I can internalize it, I can turn it around and make myself stronger. I can build upon it.
After this year, where I had a DNF and then changed my distance on another endurance event, I started to wonder where my gumption had gone.
Scott Jurek was able to finish an ultramarathon while running on a broken ankle. And what about the Iron Cowboy, James Lawrence? He was a mess when he completed 50-50-50.
I hear about people all of the time overcoming hardships and pushing through to the end. Do you just have to want it bad enough? Is it that simple?
So, I started thinking….maybe sometimes I DON’T want it enough. Or is it a case of burnout? I’m not sure, but I’d like to find out.
I am trying not to sign up for any races for a couple of months. Maybe more. Maybe I need to see if I miss having a target to aim for.
Why do I choose the races I choose? Is it something I want to accomplish, truly? Or is it just the next thing that I feel like I’m supposed to do? Does it bring me happiness or is it a burden? Am I excited about the training, or is it an obligation?
I have always enjoyed the process of training, the daily grind of preparing for an event. I love planning, putting things in the calendar, and then getting up in the morning and getting my workout done. I check the box, and then move on to what’s next.
Racing, well, I don’t get as excited about it. I mean, it is fun to race and see my friends. But, I don’t compete per se, and I don’t get excited about medals. I just like to be out there with like-minded crazy people.
So, it shouldn’t be a big deal to not race, right? Theoretically. We’ll find out…
For now, I will continue to do whatever makes me happy. I will go with what feels right.
Run Long, Friends.
Amy is an ultramarathoner and triathlete, a coach, a mother of four, an Exercise Physiologist and a Physical Therapist. She lives with her husband, Dan (also an ultramarathoner and triathlete), and kids in Ohio.