When you start to get tired and question why you are doing what you are doing, remember all of the moments over the past few months and years spent daydreaming of this. Think about how exciting it was to make all of the lists and plans and preparations to get to where you are.
When you start to get tired and question if you can do what you are doing, remember all of the time you spent training to get to where you are. Not just over the past few months, but over the course of the past years. It’s about far more than just miles logged.
When you feel that blister start to form, stop and take care of that shit. There is time. It will get worse. Then it will multiply. Don’t let it multiply.
When you feel the inevitable boredom that accompanies mental fatigue and your surroundings seem bleak, dull, and unchanging, remember to open your sleepy eyes a little wider. You get to be here. You get to trade your over-stimulated, hurried, yet ordinary reality, for this.
When you are frustrated by your slow, uncoordinated movements, remember how amazing and resilient your body is. Your body was made for this. It was designed to move. It’s just tired, and it needs to slow down. It is ok to slow down.
When it feels absolutely impossible, remember the healing power of sleep. If you are on a multi-day adventure, remember that tomorrow is a different day. If not, remember the healing power of sleep and that tomorrow you will be able to wake up and do something else. Like make plans to do it all over again.
When you hate the rain and resent the darkness, remember the hours that were spent excitedly researching the lightest rain jacket and the brightest headlamp. And use them. When the battery gets low, it will give you a great opportunity to test that portable charger that got 5-star reviews.
When you are sure that you are letting your crew down because things aren’t going according to plan, remember that life is full of choices and it is not your fault that they made the wrong one. They knew what they were getting into. But really, they want to be where they are. Don’t make them restate their commitment to you while they are popping your blisters (that you didn’t stop to take care of), pulling sticky trash out of your smelly, disgusting pack, and trying to pretend they are not more exhausted than you. Simply say thank you. And then say thank you again.
When you feel like what you are doing is completely pointless, remember, it is. Then remember that most things are. But the process that surrounds them adds color and meaning and life to the monotony that you will soon return to, and just as soon be wishing away.
When you have to stop short of that predetermined “finish,” remember that you are so much more than the outcome of any race or event.
PS – seriously don’t ignore the blister.
Feature Photo: Freshtracks Media
I’m going to carry this letter with me during my next attempt to finish a 100 race. I forgot all of this when I attempted Leadville this year. Thank you!
Thank you Alex!
This is beautiful and really inspiring! I’m still a relatively new ultrarunner, and so it’s great to read into the way your mind works and see these notions in my own head as well.
Keep it up! You are amazing!