Welcome to part three of the mindful ultra running series.
Before we end, I’d like to offer you one last powerful insight. But first, if you haven’t, feel free to check out part one and two:
Now, let’s discuss the idea of escaping the lows in ultra running…
One day I was running, and the road came to an end…literally. I even took a picture…
This situation got me thinking, isn’t this an incredible metaphor? Think about it, how many times in life has your road come to an end?
I know mine has many times.
Sometimes, if we don’t make a change willingly, we find that life forces us to do so.
Life grows all around us. People grow. Trees grow. Birds grow.
Life will continue to change whether we like it or not. It’s dynamic. Nothing alive is truly static. We are either progressing or digressing. Becoming weaker or stronger. Living or dying.
But remember, life is not happening to us. It’s happening for us.
Seasons change and they come to an end not to hurt us, but to help us grow. Because if we get stuck in our same old routines, we won’t ever develop. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
And there is a difference between change and progress.
Change is evitable, but progress requires an aim. You need clarity on where you are headed.
Progress creates happiness. That’s the ultimate gift from setting an intention.
So what happens when you get to the end of a road?
We’ll, most get stuck in a hole…like the picture above. The suffering can consume us—the “what ifs” make matters worse.
As an ultra runner, I’m sure you’ve been there. Drained physically and mentally as you’re running through the night questions your sanity.
That’s when we need to have faith.
Have faith that we would never be put through a difficult situation if it wasn’t for our own good. That is, a path that takes us to the next level. And most importantly…we would never be left stranded.
If you ever feel stuck in a hole, try to quiet the mind—whether injured, overtrained, stressed, etc. — acknowledge the self behind your thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and…have faith. Trust, you WILL find a way out.
If you’ve even ran an ultramarathon, you sure as have been there…
Physical suffering: Frustrating injuries, tortuous chafing, severe nausea, painful blisters, etc.
Mental suffering: despair, hopelessness, regret, anger, frustration, guilt, etc.
Some form of suffering is inevitable with ultra running.
But if you keep moving through the pain, things get better…
Pain comes and goes. If you fear it, you are trapped. If you see it as temporary, you are free. This is a minor change in your thinking that produces a MASSIVE shift from within, opening up a space to increase your endurance.
And sometimes, you have a realization…
With that, I would kindly ask that you scroll back up to the picture above. Look in the center of the picture. Look in the middle of the hole.
What do you see?
If you look closely… you’ll see a ladder.
Yes…a ladder, hidden in the mud and the rubbish and I bet you didn’t see it at first glance.
The point is this: when we enter into a low during a race or training, there’s always a way out. There will always be a ladder that will take us to new levels. That is, to a new road that leads to greater growth, a road that will exceed all expectations.
The path upward always starts downward.
Ladders come in all forms, and we likely miss them the first time around.
When we are at our lowest, even if we don’t have much, we can always have faith…
“Faith does not need to push the river because faith is able to trust that there is a river. The river is flowing. We are in it.” ~Richard Rhoar
“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float […] Faith is, above all, openness; an act of trust into the unknown” ~Alan Watts
So, when will you feel ready to start your mindful ultramarathon running journey and run a longer distance?
It takes a leap of faith.
Signing up for a longer distance takes a jump into the unknown.
But here’s what I can tell you from experience: the one who leaves for this journey will never return.
Continue The Journey
Thank you for reading part three of the mindful ultra running series.
If you align with this mindful approach to running an ultramarathon, then check out my book. It’s called Mindful Ultramarathon Running: Training To Run Longer, Stronger, and Faster With Less Effort. Programs included: 50k, 50-mile, 100k, 100-mile, and 200-mile distances.