When you think it’s impossible, remember “I’m possible”!
Imagine you’re in the most pain you’ve ever been in. Your body is completely busted and broke. Your mind has been working to avoid pitfalls, fatigue, and pain. You haven’t eaten as much as you should in the past 24 hours. You are dehydrated and thirsty but your stomach just can’t handle anything else… Oh and the good news? You aren’t even close to being done.
Welcome to Ultra Running. I think this would accurately describe every long distance race I’ve ever been a part of. Now what? Do you get to quit? NO! Well, I guess you always have that option… Give into the pain. Give into your weaknesses. Give in to your fears and doubts about how strong you are… I want you to think back to the last thing you quit. How’d that feel? Probably not good. Now I want you to think back to a time when you were busted and broken and for some reason you took another step forward and another and another until you eventually got to your goal. How does that feeling differ from quitting? It’s probably a much better memory.
You can whine, complain, cry, laugh, throw up and go through a thousand other emotions during a long distance race, but there’s one thing you can’t do. You can’t stop moving forward. If you stop, you lose your momentum. If you stop you give yourself the option to quit. Your mind and body starts to get comfortable while it’s resting and you begin to think (in the moment) that it’s just a good idea to throw in the towel and call it a day.
People ask why I would ever want to run 100 miles. This is the best answer I have. (It’s better than my usual smart ass answer: “If you have to ask, you wouldn’t understand…”) The idea of pushing myself beyond where I am now. Going beyond what has been expected of me. Finding out that I physically and mentally don’t have limits. The challenge of going through a long, hard, demanding training schedule to ultimately reach an “impossible” goal makes my heart happy. The idea of taking the next step after I want to quit fills me with joy. The thrill of accomplishing an incredible goal of running 100 miles wakes me up with a full tank of energy every single morning.
So why “30 seconds”? This is a “fun” thing we do when we are pacing. When our runner is struggling we do intervals. Yes, intervals at mile 42, 63, 74, 80, 90 etc. Doesn’t sound like much fun does it? Well it is. Maybe more for the pacer than the runner, but so far I haven’t had a runner complain. 30 seconds is a long enough time to move faster and get a good bit of speed going. It’s a short enough time that it doesn’t overload the mind with fear and doubt. It’s a great way to keep the runner’s mind off the pain and fatigue and give them hope that they still have what it takes to finish.
You want to know what’s most surprising about 30 seconds? As a pacer it is our job to let the runner know when their 30 seconds is done. They have the option for rest. But many times the 30 seconds turns into a minute or two minutes. The last time I was pacing the 30 seconds turned into a mile run (3 times! And they were all beyond mile 80!) When we’re busted and broken the hardest part is to get going. But once we get moving we realize the pain isn’t as bad as it seems. The fatigue is less than we thought and we are stronger than we think we are.
What if you took the “30 seconds” concept and applied it to your everyday life? What do you need to get started on RIGHT NOW that if you just started moving forward at a more brisk pace you would take a giant step toward your goals? What if you just focused on taking the very next step in front of you instead of looking too far forward and overthinking the “failures” that could happen? Do you think you would get more done today? Do you think you would take a big step toward your goals this week? What if you spent 15 minutes on your highest priority goal RIGHT NOW and spent 15 minutes on it every day for the next week? That’s more than an hour closer to your goals this week alone! That’s 5 hours over the next month and 60 hours over the next year!!! This is all based on you doing the minimum amount of time! Once you get the ball rolling toward your goals, I can guarantee the momentum would start to move you forward so you were getting more accomplished toward your goal. Now your priorities have not only become top of mind but it’s also become a positive habit you work on every day. The 15 minutes of extreme productivity toward your goals will eventually compound over the next year and the 60+ hours you’ve worked, will see a much greater return on investment.
So I challenge you right now. Take 15 minutes to work on your goal, now. Don’t look at the next 52 weeks of hard work you will have to do. Take a look at the very next step you have in front of you. When you take one step, take another and another. When you’re busted and broken remain focused on your ultimate goal, but don’t forget we get to the ultimate goal by one step at a time, one mile at a time, one day at a time and eventually those single steps turn into miles and miles of confidence, achievements, habits, and eventually goals and dreams come true. So the next time you don’t think you can go any farther, ask yourself this- “Got 30 seconds?”
My victory isn’t crossing the finish line. My victory is taking the next step after I want to quit.
Run Epic my Friends!