Running in the mental shadow

Ultra Mental Fortitude

Ultra Mental Fortitude


Running in the mental shadow

Running in the mental shadowOver the past week, people with medical backgrounds have pointed out how severe my ER visit was. Then I recalled what Doc M at the aid station said:
I don’t have a dialysis machine here.

It has been an interesting week of reflection to say the least. People have been genuinely interested, and concerned, over my adventure at the Leadville 100. Retelling the story I don’t really pay attention to the words … until I notice the looks on the audience’s faces.

While I am disappointed with myself, I have a few things I’m fairly happy about.

For one, someone reminded me that I still ran an ultramarathon at high altitude in the mountains. True. I didn’t complete the course of the day, but I did put in quite a few miles.

Second, I was questioning my mental toughness going into the race. It takes a badass to keep going when everything, including the voices in your head, tell you to stop. In my case, I moved forward with a smile even to the point of peeing blood.

That’s some good mental toughness.

We are but a small speck in the universe, so I see no need to focus on the negative. Even as the doctor in the Emergency Room was slapping a diagnosis on me (Rhabdomyolsis) I continued telling jokes. I may have even thrown in a vacuum joke around this sucking.

With any step or moment that was getting difficult, and I was well aware there would be many, I had 3 strategies:

1. Prayer
There are bible verses on running and it becomes meditative to repeat phrases over and over. Very much like running, but sometimes you need a break from thinking about the thing you are doing. Life analogy.

2. Steve Jobs
A man that has been called many names because he was able to see things differently. Quite often those with new ideas or a way that is different from how “it has always been done” get brushed off. The day before Leadville a documentary happened to be on & he said:

“When you have to walk a thousand miles, the first step can be overwhelming. You need people around you to say you are one step closer to the goal.”

No matter how slowly or painful a step was, it was another towards the goal.

3. Imagine When
You always hear about “what if.” It’s nice to have dreams, but constantly coming up with “what ifs” puts a limit on the thinking. Start thinking “when” it will happen. Visualize crossing that finish line, when you view the target number on the scale, or when you get the promotion you’ve been working on. Focus on “when” and not “what if.”

Those 3 strategies have helped me through not just races, but through challenging moments in personal and professional life. I don’t have to be perfect in every moment, but I can be working towards it. I prefer to be and not change. That allows more energy on excelling in life rather than always worrying what others are thinking.

Big strides in mental skills from going almost 40 miles and escaping renal failure.

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