I was grinding through the middle of my first ultra-marathon race, a 52-miler over the Bighorn Mountains, and was still confident of finishing despite twisted ankles, deep mud bogs and steeper hills than I’d ever seen. Unfortunately, I didn’t expect my thoughts to be the thing that stopped me!
I had successfully cleared the first time cut-off aid station and managed to crawl – no, literally – I mean, crawl – up the three-mile-plus “Wall of Death” – named it myself! Just 12 miles from the final time cut-off aid station a person passed me and exclaimed, “Yo dude, I think you’re the last one on the trail.” Suddenly, my thought-life was spiraling into darkness. Flooding in came “what if’s” and “if only I had.” I made the mistake of abandoning my race strategy and began to bomb down the hills out of control.
The next thing I knew, I was flying! I’m sure I looked just like Superman. Unfortunately, I also knew my landing would not be near as graceful as his! Twelve miles later, I was pulled from the race by aid station people. I DNF’d (did not finish). A term that strikes fear into the hearts of runners! The worst part was knowing that my body could have completed the run, but my mind didn’t let it!
One of my goals is to “take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.” Notice the quote doesn’t say to ban the thoughts, but to take them captive and make them obedient. Making a thought obedient means to make it line up with who God says you are, so you can continue any race with all the energy and courage you began with, no matter what is being thrown against you.
My DNF taught me to take my thoughts captive and in the 2016 racing season I finished three ultra-marathons, three mountain half-marathons and a 205-mile relay race. I’m proud of getting back in the race and work everyday to control my thoughts in every area of life.
Controlling your thought life will keep you on the journey to living an ultra life.