It’s going to happen and you know it is. It doesn’t matter whether you’re running a 5K, a half marathon, a marathon or a 100 miler. IT is always lurking and IT is mean and ugly and bad to the bone and if you don’t plan for IT, IT will absolutely crush you. What is IT? IT is the wall, it is that point in every race where you feel and truly believe that you are done, you can’t possibly go another step. I’ve had walls so bad that I have literally sat down on the side of the course and wept everything hurt so bad. I remember right after my first DNF in a 52 miler I ran a 30K (18 or so miles) about 3 weeks later. Around mile 14 I remember hitting the last of the creek crossings and it was deep and it was cold and it was mud sucking and I felt like as the mud sucked at my feet that it was literally sucking all the strength out of my body. I got through the mud but as I made it to the other side there was a really nice rock under a tree off to the side of the course and I just went over and had myself a little cry. I knew within my heart that I could have finished the 52 miler a couple of weeks before and I knew I had to get up and run through my fears and through my doubts and after wiping my eyes I literally looked down at my legs and said “all right you two, listen up. We are finishing this race and we are going to do it in style. These next four miles there are two good uphills and one badass downhill and we are going to enjoy it.” Then I said to my self (that self that was full of doubt and self-pity) “suck it up cupcake! You’re finishing this!!!” And I ran on and I finished quite well (my first top 10 in fact). The difference was that I saw THE WALL coming and before I even started the race I had prepared for it. I knew it wasn’t my nutrition or my hydration, I knew it was all in my head and I began to coach myself on my training runs of just what I was going to do to knock down THE WALL.
Life hits us the same way. Guess what cupcake, you’re not going to win every time and you’re certainly not going to get a participation trophy every time you show up. No if you want to run your own race then you are going to have to face THE WALL and you can’t run around it, you can’t avoid it and you can’t even take an easier route because THE WALL is always out there waiting for you and you better have something on the inside that gives you the strength to persevere through THE WALL and be able to run right through it. Hebrews 12:1b-3 “….let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus…..” Perseverance is an extremely hard character trait to develop but it takes training and it takes planning because you just don’t hop out of bed in perseverance attire. It’s not like it’s the most natural thing in the world. No to sum up perseverance in two words – IT SUCKS! That’s right, you heard correctly. This is going to be one of your least favorite things to develop and it’s going to take something that is not naturally a part of any person (no matter what that self help guru tells you). It is a character trait that takes developing and it takes hard work and it takes some tears and it takes some personal development. And you could skip this step and just go on to the next one but you’re not going to avoid THE WALL because it will always be there. IT will show up in one fashion or another and the fact of the matter is that unless you throw off the habits that are keeping you from breaking down the wall it will always entangle you and trip you up and you will accumulate more DNFs in life than you ever thought possible. So what are you waiting for? Start working now to face THE WALL, whatever it is and tell it that you acknowledge it but you just refuse to ACCEPT it.
Living an ultra life means planning for what you will do when you hit THE WALL.