Recently, I embarked on a grueling 24-hour race, an ultramarathon that pushed the boundaries of my physical and mental endurance. While I don’t consider myself an “ultra-runner” by trade, I relish the opportunity to push myself to extremes, more for the mental challenge it presents than the physical.
However, the physical challenge is undeniably real. So, why do I willingly subject myself to such demanding runs? Three compelling reasons drive me: fostering physical and mental resilience, challenging my limiting beliefs, and reveling in the remarkable community of runners and supporters these events encourage.
Here are the invaluable lessons I gleaned from the race:
Never Give Up. Like life, this race is a relentless journey of highs and lows, joy and despair. Ultramarathons force you to confront a full spectrum of emotions and understand that every emotion, be it positive or negative, is transient. Just as the darkest moments eventually fade, the brightest ones await around the next bend in the road. Success hinges on unwavering persistence when times get tough so it’s important to remember that the key to victory lies in your resilience and determination.
Take Care of Yourself. In an ultramarathon, your physical, mental, and sometimes even spiritual well-being will inevitably deteriorate. The pivotal lesson is to recognize that when any aspect of your well-being starts to falter you should address it promptly. Much like how a minor physical ache can turn into a debilitating injury if ignored, neglecting your mental or spiritual health can have consequences. Pay attention to warning signs and take the necessary steps to repair and rejuvenate yourself. By tending to your well-being, you prevent minor issues from snowballing into insurmountable obstacles that might force you to quit.
Drop the Ego. Much like life, endurance races are not solitary endeavors. We all need a community, support groups, and people who can uplift us or provide a steadying hand when we encounter challenging terrains. The ego can be a formidable barrier to seeking help or guidance; drop the ego and embrace the power of collaboration. It’s okay to ask for help when you need it. Be open to seeking guidance and accept assistance from individuals with genuine intentions to support your success. The journey becomes more meaningful and manageable when you surround yourself with a supportive network.
Running the ultramarathon of life, just like a 24-hour race, presents trials and tribulations. By internalizing these lessons—never giving up, taking care of ourselves, and dropping our ego—we equip ourselves to navigate life’s broader ultramarathon. The true victory lies in reaching the finish line and in the growth, resilience, and connections we forge along the way.