How Running A 100-Mile Ultra Marathon Changed EVERYTHING! - (Part II) -The “HOW”
To understand the ‘HOW’ behind the training and racing 100 miles is best described somewhat like a puzzle.
One that has a lot of pieces and often requires a methodical approach at times. Other times, just putting together a string of pieces that were a part of a bigger puzzle would have to work too. How in the world would I be able to train, to run and grow my business, and have the family time with my kids and wife, oh, and maybe have a personal life. I refused to accept that something had to give.
That I would have to jeopardize something in my life to do this. I was not the first person to deal with this as many others before me, have conquered the task. I would not allow self-pity or speak of “how hard this is”. This was, after all, a voluntary event that was supposed to be fun. In the end, through my competitive spirit, I also refused to miss a single training day or training race. Eight months, solid with no misses except maybe 2. This is reflective of my approach to my business or family. Dream Big, Make a goal, plan the plan, and execute with unwavering pursuit.
I felt my relationship with Time change. The day was not going to get longer than 24 hours. I would have to squeeze in more hours in the morning and at night but without running myself down, would have to work even smarter. In comes the necessary balance of nutrition, health, and self-awareness plus a real belief at my core that we are all capable of doing more, giving more, and having more. Combined, it is hard for me to believe that there are any human limits within reason. A belief that grows more and more with experiences like this. I beat the sunrise most mornings, squeezed in mid-day runs, or did workouts when everyone was asleep, I even took conference calls on long-runs.
I also had to trim the excess. This may seem harsh but the unnecessary conference calls or meetings, the mind-stumbling searches on google, or the chasing rainbows would stop. I had to be super aware of everything I did and why I choose to do it. The latter, being the key to executing this approach. If you do any “to-do” lists like me or even set annual goals when you write them ask yourself WHY. Turns out, A LOT of what I was spending my energy on really did not warrant the attention I was giving it. I generally knew that but now I had a forceful calibrating tool, a sort of cleansing process, another reason why these challenges are so valuable. I had to delegate, believe in others, and never stop believing in myself. It was like a perfect cocktail that constantly needed to be stirred and cared for or risk being “watered down” by the baseless distractions that prevent good from great, happy from jubilant, or strong from BEAST MODE. A cumulative approach, that over time would yield performance advances hard to believe both physically and in my mindset.
HOW I finished the race can be attributable to a few very simple but important steps; preparation, gratitude, and a deliberate and an UNRELENTING attack. In my nearly 32-hour race, there were very few moments that I felt unprepared. Every wet sneaker, mental-thought, knee pain, or silent darkness running through the woods, feeling dehydrated or calorically depleted were all things I did during training.
I put myself in adverse situations to familiarize the unknown. Most 100-mile training plans call for Training Races, usually a “build-up” approach starting with a 30k distance, then 50k distance, and then a 50-mile distance.
But the first race, a 30k, was canceled due to COVID, then the second, the third, all canceled. It did not matter for they were on my calendar. They were immovable! I would go on to do all 3 of these, unsupported and unsanctioned (besides my wife, kids, mother, brother, and a few friends). On the day these were scheduled I just had to show up, stay present, and believe in myself while building the machine. That is exactly what I did. I remember vividly going to sleep the night before my last Training Race. In a calm and simplified way, I would say “I’m going to run 50 miles tomorrow”.
Imagine if we applied such a simplistic and at times, obvious approaches to our other endeavors in life and business. If we took the pointless anxiety and angst out of consideration and just did it. Maybe Nike’s slogan meant so much more than I previously thought. I also applied the practice of the Power of the Spoken Word, which I had used in other endurance events.
The belief that saying something out loud and being deliberate about it would make the outcome more likely. The mind is our stopgap to protect us from what we think is not possible, but our mind also prevents us many times from doing what is possible. Speaking the words often overcome that hesitancy and convince us otherwise.
I cannot mention the HOW without the support of my family, friends, and CREW, who were unwavering in their support. Every day my wife would ask me, “what do you have today?” She never had a thought that this was too much, too hard, or crazy. I can say with 100% confidence that without this being the case, I would have never been able to do it. And our kids, albeit 3 and 5 years old, helped more than they possibly realize.
Just their existence helped motivate me on countless dark runs and my never-ending attempt to show them what hard work, focus, and commitment really mean. One day they will understand this impact.
Every single workout! Every single day! I visualized the race and the finish line! I saw the people. I felt the pain and the glory. At times, it was as if I was not even present in my training, good or bad. Focused only on building and building, I was locked in! The machine was being built. NO excuses, NO wavering, pure gratitude, and optimism through it all. Not allowing the negative in my headspace. When the whole world was going dark due to COVID 19, I went the other way. It worked.
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