Endurance is synonymous with difficulty. When a person is dedicated to a goal, endurance becomes a key personality factor. This also means that a person agrees to various unfamiliar degrees of difficulty. Pushing the body to its limits in a sports field is a common way for individuals to test their endurance levels. Marathons are the pinnacle of determination, endurance, and physical trial. What about those people who view single marathons as trite? What about the ultramarathon?
The most grueling and elite test of a person’s endurance threshold is the ultramarathon. It subjects a person to extreme weather elements. It requires training that the vast majority of people will never have to endure. It is a simple matter of running, but the running demands that a person pushes into physical and mental realms that everyday members of modern society rarely experience.
The key to training for an extreme event like a ultramarathon is adopting complete abandon while moving. At this level of performance, thoughts themselves can use valuable energy. This is why focus is the optimal goal. Trophies and awards aren’t the only rewards. The satisfaction of completion is also a goal.
As a person increases their threshold for running more than twenty miles, they must learn to let go of certain mental pictures. Most often, it is a person’s inner conversation that becomes a detriment to endurance running. All of the things like hydration, running form, and race preparation happen before an event. Once a race starts, the key is a singular mindset fixed on the final goal. This is the only way a person can endure something like a super marathon. Once the race begins, it becomes the only thing that is important until the end is in sight.
How Difficult Races are Conquered
Every obstacle in life presents elements that make it seem insurmountable. Obstacles have common factors that make tackling them difficult and taxing. The main factor is fear. Someone who has difficulty with tackling the jobs of each day faces the same mental, emotional, and physical trials as a long distance runner. Daily jobs become monsters because people allow them to grow with thoughts of “coulds, shoulds, and what ifs.” These questions are normal safety mechanisms that the human psyche creates. They are safeguards against stress. Learning to ignore the messages that these obstacles present is the key to reaching rare goals.
The only way to make it through obstacles is a singular focus. Each obstacle stands on its own. It can be conquered if it is seen through a clear lens. That lens filters all other concerns, and it allows a person to see the obstacle as it is.
When a person completes an extreme race like an ultramarathon, they are typically presented with a belt buckle. This becomes a reminder of how much they had to focus and work to achieve. When a person pushes through life difficulties with a singular mindset, they are also presented with a trophy. It is not always an ornate statue. It is the permanent feeling of triumph. It is the perceived notion of evolving as a human in the face of trial. It is the recognition of gaining an improved personal skill set that will come in handy when tackling the next trial.
There is one very important thing that successful super marathoners can teach everyday people. Never stop the struggle even when life presents many reasons to do so. The race is long, and the pain is always present. What lies beyond is the satisfaction of being a finisher. Receiving a physical trophy for completing a race is wonderful. Growing as a person because of difficulty is even more wonderful. It signifies true resilience and the ability to persevere.
-By Katherine Smith