‘Write a note to yourself while you are so excited. In those rare, fleeting or dark moments when you aren’t excited, you’re exhausted or you feel scared or unsure about what you have just signed up to do, you can look back and read the words, your very own words, and remember this moment…
Remember the ‘why’.’ – Peg Herring
Peg is my mentor and friend who at the same time also said…
‘I do not understand what you have chosen to do. Not at all. But you need to know that I support you 100%. You can do anything you set out to do.’
So, here’s the note I wrote to myself. 🙂
You just signed up for the Mountain Lakes 100 mile race.
Now you get to spend the next eight months training for it! Then on September 24th you get to freaking toe the line!
You are wholeheartedly, bone-deep, excited! Giddy even. You spent the week walking around grinning ear-to-ear. You have gone to bed each night happy and very much at peace with the decision to embark on this wild adventure.
Josh Gum planted the idea in your head to run a 100 miler about three years ago. He introduced you to the idea of ultras and endurance sports. (‘You don’t have to go fast, you just can’t give up…’) The idea that you might be able to run 100 miles, you, Bets, – the former morbidly obese girl, Type 2 Diabetic, the girl who swore she hated running – this idea, has become an obsession, a deep-seated desire.
Since the day the seed was planted, you have been wondering, dreaming, becoming focused on the idea that maybe, just maybe, you might have it in your heart and soul (and legs) to actually run something obnoxiously, audaciously, fantastically long; like a 100 miler.
The last three years you have been dedicated to learning the art and sport of running. And while you’re just barely getting started, that hasn’t stopped you from totally falling in love with trail running in the process. Falling in love with all of it. The people, the sport, the experiences, the miles, the challenge.
Every single thing about trail running appeals to you, speaks to you, heals and nourishes and strengthens your soul.
You have also learned that this life adventure with trail running is not just about running.
This whole process of getting ready for and tackling a 100 miler is really about wondering if you have the fortitude and ability to take a really big, scary goal and then TACKLE it, own it, beat it…
This is about putting your hard-fought lifestyle changes to the test.
This is about getting stronger. Brain and body.
This is about really LIVING your life.
You spent your 20’s and into your early 40’s as a 392 pound, morbidly obese, Type 2 diabetic.
You were ALWAYS saying to yourself; I…
‘… can’t run.’
‘… can’t do that.’
‘… am too fat to do that.’
‘… am pretty sure that would hurt…’
‘…am too old.’
Here’s the kicker…
How can you really hate/deny/be fearful of something you have never done?
Be honest with yourself Bets. You had never gone running. You weren’t eating healthy. You weren’t being active. You weren’t doing anything long enough to form an actual, honest-to-goodness opinion of your own.
You were just accepting the passive opinions about your abilities and limitations based on ASSumptions. (We all know what word features prominently in ASSumption.)
You are done assuming.
This effort will require you to give your very best on every, single, possible level. It will test everything you think you are made of. And you have been told/warned/not-so-gently-reminded by people you love, trust and respect that this is going to test things you never knew were going to be tested, never dreamed you would encounter.
This will change you.
‘It’s going to be an experience that will change you in ways that will surprise you.’ — Josh Gum
You are ready for that testing.
Not just on race day, but you are ready for the testing that you know occurs every step of the way during the training process too.
Gaining new distances, building your core/back, learning to fuel, endless practice running down hills, even more endless practice with speed work, running uphills, power hiking.
You want to hit that start line for Mountain Lakes KNOWING that you kept putting in your best effort every single time you put on your running shoes.
If you commit 100% to the training, on race day you can put all of that together and enjoy the magic that happens when hard work and a heartfelt goal start racing in the same direction.
You did not just sign up for this on a whim.
You have been tenacious, intentional and consistent in working up to a fitness level where you feel wholeheartedly ready to train for and do your first 100 miler. You spoke with Spencer at length about what you wanted to do more than two years ago.
With guidance from both Spencer and Josh, you decided you had the perfect race in your sights and you picked Mountain Lakes for your first 100 miler.
You know you can do this.
Spencer says you are ready to train to run 100 miler.
Team Gum (Josh and Wendie) have said they know you are up to the task and will support you 100%.
That’s all the validation you wanted or needed to eagerly hit the ‘sign me up now!’ button.
Now go throw your heart and feet onto the trails and get training for this sucker.
So when and if the times get dark or scary or daunting, I will look back on this note and remember what I was thinking and feeling.
I will also be reminded that this is not just about running.
It has never, ever been entirely about running.
This whole, amazing adventure is about something much, much bigger. It’s about owning and chasing down a dream. It’s about believing in myself. It’s about intentionally choosing to push into new, scary territory. It’s about living life to the fullest each and every single day.