This past weekend I ran what was definitely the most memorable race of my entire life. Not only because of what I was up against but because of the few days leading up to the race.
The odds of actually running this race were insurmountable. Typically ultramarathoners take 4 to 6 months to train for a race as long as 100K. For mountain races that can be even longer because of the physical demand and stress placed on the body. With a packed weekly schedule not only did I not have time most days to run the mileage I typically would for this type of training but sometimes I couldn't run at all.
But I knew I could accomplish this goal with the right methods:
- I had to watch my nutrition over those 6 months (making sure I was eating the right amount and the right foods) very closely.
- I had to be running consistently (running 5 days a week) and challenging myself on at least 2 of the runs each week (with either hard efforts or long mileage).
- I had to manage my stress level and make sure that my body wasn't producing extra cortisol and that I was able to recover from the heat and stress of training.
In short, I had to monitor EVERYTHING over the last few months to make sure I could conquer this race. That meant being consistent in everything I did and making my fitness a daily #1 priority.
I had to do what many of us are often not willing to do: I had to tell people "NO!"
I made my health a priority over fun party weekends, a priority over family stresses, a priority over work stresses and a priority over any other personal goals I had for myself.
THIS is what it takes! I know that some of you are wanting true, permanent change in your physical and/or mental health. BUT, despite the shortcuts you hear about, the "secrets" people tell you about or the "best" way to eat or exercise or do anything else, YOU have to WANT it this bad too.
You have to be willing to say "No" to people because your health is your #1 priority. You have to be willing to say, "I can't make that meeting, I have a workout at that time". You have to be willing to say, "I'm not going to eat that because it doesn't get me anywhere toward my goal". You have to be willing to think, "I'm getting up tomorrow morning to train and that's my priority, not this distraction".
Is that selfish? OF COURSE NOT! Why is it selfish to want to be at your best? When you are at your best you can help others, you can inspire those around you, you can think more clearly, solve problems more efficiently and deal with stress more keenly.
You OWE it to yourself and OTHERS to always be in your best health!
For those that don't know the full story of my experience last week, I actually ended up with a MASSIVE ear infection 3 days before the race. But I wasn't going to let it keep me from starting this race because thru the months leading up until 07/22/2017, I had cemented my resolve to not let anything get in my way! So with an enormous headache, an infection that the ER doctor told me was the worst he'd ever seen and a swollen-closed ear canal that affected my balance I did exactly that. I didn't let it stop me.
Don't let ANYONE or ANYTHING stop YOU from achieving what you truly want. Make your health your #1 PRIORITY over anything else and you WILL see results. Not only in your fitness, but your relationships, your career and your personal endeavors.