1 week after

4 06 2011

n

So last week at this time i was at 16 km into the first loop of 8 loopsof 20.2 km.  What was i thinking at that time?  Nothing.  I was running through the forest in the early morning fog, admiring the scenery and taking in my surroundings.   For the past 24 hours i had mentally retreated to NOW…..somehow i had been able to slow my busy mind and be only in the present.  i had no thoughts of the past, my work, or any stressor.  i didnt for a moment contemplate the task ahead of completing 100 miles.

I was hoping I would be able to compartmentalize like this but wasnt sure i could.

The day was foggy and wet.  The trail was awash with water and mud.

I had heard much advice in the past 48 hours, and had filtered it down into my race plan.   A few things I heard and didn’t question as I believed them to be accurate were:

“Do not think of the race in its entirety or it’s too overwhelming!”……………this could be applied to any major task or life challange…….if we try to manage the outcome of something we usually will become over whelmed.  all we can do in life is focus on what we can control and that is only our preparedness, our actions at that moment.

Start slow and then Slow down“………Again another life lesson…..when ever we get ourselves in a hurry we generally get flustered and make mistakes or become inefficient……lifes an ultra marathon…find a pace and stick with ot…its a long run…focus on the task at hand

Run your own race“….again in life if we get caught up in what our neighbors have or are doing we lose our focus on ourselves and start to have un-realistic expectations of ourselves and doubt what we are doing. This is most apparant in the “lottery dreamers”….imagine if i won a million dollars????  This is dangerous thinking as its so unrealistic and it takes us completely out of focus on what we can do in life……

“Pain is inevitable, suffering optional“….never liked hearing that but so true.  One thing we can be assured of in life is we will go through some challenging times, some sadness, regret, and pain.   How we respond to that is all we can control.  We cannot control people, places and things….ONLY how we react to those things……….alot of work there for me!

No pain no gain”…this is so often mis-intrepreted….this doesn t mean to go out and hurt yourself or work through injuries…this means that the only way to growth ( especially spiritual) is by going through pain or discomfort…………………and that brings us to the question WHY???????

Why train for such a monumental challenge as to run for 100 miles?

For me why was difficult to vocalize.  What I knew is I needed a major goal in my life that would allow me to focus and dramatically alter my life style.  I knew the goal had to be big enough that i would be fearful of shirking the day-to-day responsibilities of the training and discipline.   100 mile run worked nicely into that.   you skip some training for a monster like that and you will find yourself wishing you hadn’t some point during the run!

I knew that because of my past and my current work load and life style I was becoming numb……finding it difficult to feel who I am.  By pushing past limits pre-set by my mind on what I am capable of I was able to strip away layers of false pride, ego, and complexities to get down to the simplicity of who I am…….a man….small and fairly insignificant in the giant world…….nothing to prove to anyone.  Nothing to gain or lose from trying.  Just be myself and exist as peacefully as possible.

We all have one life.  We can do with it what ever we choose.  The amazing thing about being human is we can change who we are and how we interact with life at ANY point in any day.  We can start over at any time.  We can try again and if we don’t succeed we can try again and again.  There is no real failure in trying and not succeeding.

The only failure in life comes from not trying!

Why????

Everyone is different.  each of us has our own character defects and weaknesses.  The one common flaw I see in most of us is our lack of faith.  Faith in something greater than our selves.  Lack of belief in who we are, what we can do  and our self-worth.

Everyone doesn’t need to go out and run 100 miles to better ourselves.  For some there Sulphur Springs could be to go for a walk, get to the gym, eat a bit healthier, quit smoking, be more gentle ( on themselves and others), lose a bit of weight.

All to often we give up.  In business most entrepreneurs give up just before they would have succeeded…………………..success is the ability to get back up after being knocked down NOT the ability to not get knocked down!

Do I recommend for others to go out and run 100 miles?  NO…….i mean if that’s what you want to do then go for it.  Read up on it make a plan and do it……….however there are other ways……………and it all boils down the same way.

If you want something or want to change something about yourself. make a plan.  Make a plan that is realistic, achievable and will benefit you and the people around you.

there aren’t any quick fixes.  you want to lose weight?  make a plan and stick to it.  the most important thing about losing weight is to know what you are eating.  write down EVERYTHING you eat for a few weeks.  EVERYTHING…assisgn the caloric value to those items and see what you eat per day. Research what your TRUE caloric needs are per day and aim to get slightly below that over a period of time!  eliminate some of those un necessary calories…there are generally some easy ones. Then slowly and steadily go forward without looking back, without comparing yourself to others.

You want to get ahead financially?  Write down your expenditures for a month or so…….understand your exact income.  Then eliminate some expenses where necessary and make a REALISTIC plan with timelines based on what you now understand.

In any of these plans we need to leave room for error.

When I made my plan to run this 100 mile race I made three plans.

Plan 1, try to break 20 hours….a very aggressive plan considering the elite runners would do this in 18 to 19 hours……not that realistic for my first race of this length.

Plan 2, try to break 24 hours….a realistic goal based on what I saw in my training runs and given my level of fitness

plan 3, try to finish……this was extremely realistic pending I didn’t get injured, or go too hard to early.

As soon as I did the first 20 km I knew i was now already on plan 2!  I could see that if I didn’t slow down given the conditions I would risk not finishing at all………………………………….somewhere around 50 miles I readjusted my plan again to simply finishing.  To try any faster could jeopardize my chances of finishing at all…………..

We must be fluid in our expectations of our selves.  Not so rigid that the very thought of starting a task makes us quit!

So WHY…………………….I have tried to capture some of that here but i will never be able to completely explain to others WHY go out and train 18 months to try to run 100 miles, while working full time in a mentally and physically demanding job.

Did this change my life?  Yes.  It may be subtle but it definitely had a profound and humbling effect on me.  It gave me a greater appreciation of what I am capable of but also gave me time to contemplate my insignifigance in the world as a whole.

We are all capable of far more than we know.  Only through trying to push past our perceived boundaries, implied by our preconceived thoughts of what is possible, can we truly succeed and grow.

Now what?

Well I would like to do some more of these physical challenges.  I am registered for the Canadian Death Race in 7 weeks……………the issue i am having now is my business has become very successful and requires a lot of attention right now.  To add-on all of those hours of training and to take time away to go and run these races, and recover is a bit irresponsible of me.  My children don’t live with me either so it means taking time away from them and all my loved ones.  Do i want to make more of those sacrifices?  Not really. 

This doesn’t mean i have made my decision on “What now” but it gives me pause to stop and think and prioritize my life….regroup and see how i want to spend the hours of my existence.

My only message to anyone reading this…anyone who wants to experience positive change and growth in their life………….make a plan, throw away your preconceived notions of what you are capable of, and go for it.

Its your life.  You can live it anyway you want.

You can do it!  Your worth it.

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2 responses

4 06 2011
scott brown

Wonderful message , Stefan. Your approach to the challenges is refreshing in that its humble, honest and real. Theres no braggadoccio or self promotion in your blogs, just honest feelings and thoughts that most people won’t allow themselves to be vulnerable enough to share . You inspire others to explore and discover their capabilities, thats admirable. Thanks!

5 06 2011
extremechef

Hey Scott, buddy, you and i come from the “same place” so i know you know!…………….Thanks for the comment s and i wish you good trail running

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