Welcome to part two of the ultra running inspiration series. Let’s begin…
Ultra running is tough. At some point, we doubt ourselves. And why shouldn’t we? We are our present selves attempting to reach a metaphorical manifestation of a future self. And who knows what that’s going to take?
The illusion is that we have control of future events.
We think we are safe in the structured boxes of a training guide.
The paradox is that the uncertainties within the certainty shape us into the runner who can handle these extreme races.
Some of the most unexpected and heart-crushing life experiences are what shaped me into the person who could finish a 100 and 200-mile race. This is undoubtedly true.
A runner’s stamina is the result of all the struggles they are willing to overcome both inside and outside of their running shoes.
Never forget this.
Transform or Transmit Pain
In long ultramarathons, things get brutal. But we must choose to move forward and shoulder the burdens.
Pain is inevitable. And I usually say suffering is a choice. But that’s not exactly true. At least not in the literal sense.
Instead, being human will always lead to some form of suffering. Just thank God when it transcends into something worthwhile.
What I mean is when darkness transforms into light.
Ask any athlete who has used past trauma to become a future elite. This is an extraordinary transformative energy.
As Franciscan friar Richard Rohr said, “If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it.”
I’ve found ultra running to guide me into transcendence. Great suffering can lead to great joy, as strange as it sounds.
And when I use the term “ultra running,” I’m not referring to the community seen in race reports and magazines. We need to dig deeper.
What I’m talking about is that 100 mile grueling experience you wrestle through; when it’s only you, God, and the never-ending starlight.
It’s when you are pounding down the path in your darkest hour, praying the moon crosses over the sky, so you know the finish line is close to the distant horizon.
It is both punishing and rewarding. Joyful and sorrowful. Uplifting and devastating.
As your endurance expands through suffering, so does your consciousness. I believe this with all my heart.
You may find this road to lead to greater self-discovery. It’s the most honest path I’ve found.
And when the sun peeks over the horizon, it feels like a rebirth. You left the old you behind—the one shackled by your many self-limiting beliefs.
And if you forgive yourself for what you’ve put yourself through, the finish line becomes your liberation.
When the extraordinary becomes ordinary, a funny thing happens. At the same time, the ordinary becomes extraordinary. That’s the secret gift from running a 100-mile ultramarathon.
This is part two of a series on ultra running inspiration. Click here to read part one: Ultra Running Inspiration: Growth, Progress, and Transcedence. Thank you for reading and enjoy the journey!
By the way, 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.