Your promised land divide,
That’s where the world lies.
I am a firm believer of the minds power. Where muscle, speed, and cardiovascular strength expires, the mind is there to push us past the farthest of limits. Running the super distances is probably the most valid example of this. All but the most conditioned athlete will experience pain and emotional trauma during an ultra marathon. It takes a strong mental effort to push through those moments of self doubt and bodily pain and complete the race. I jokingly said I ran the 50K race last Sunday on the beach because the Seahawks had won the Super Bowl, but in reality I knew the physical aspect of the race was all I had to worry about. After the mental challenges I have had to deal with the past year, I knew I was ready to handle this.
There is no reason to think finishing an ultra marathon is even the tip of the iceburg though, when put in terms of mental and physical duress. They say only one tenth of one percent of the US population has done an ultra marathon. Small number. During last years race, I was lucky to hear a speech the day before given by a former prisoner of war named Ed Hubbard. Surviving an ordeal like the one he described made dragging my busted leg 50 miles up and down a beach sound like a leisurely activity. That is true mental power. Armed with a story like the one he told, I will never quit in my life’s trials and tribulations, and certainly not during something as mundane as a race. The phrase he kept repeating during his speech was “Hold On”. That is what he kept telling himself in that tiny concrete cell in Vietnam. So every time it felt like I could go no farther, I looked out across the waves and imagined that old man telling me to “hold on”.
This obviously stuck with me, as I found myself during the summers bullshit stopping and saying his phrase to myself. So when this years race rolled around and I wasn’t barely two months out of hernia surgery, after all of this, I wasn’t hesitant about anything. Yes I may have expressed caution on the outside, and it was just being smart, but deep down inside I knew I was going to fight until the end. 23rd out of the 61 people that actually did finish the race ain’t bad.