I’m running my first ultra-marathon this Saturday. It’s a trail race, and just the 50K instead of the full hundred, but still. And although I might be feeling a bit intimidated, I’m nonetheless stoked.
Because I LOVE trail running. Trails are softer underfoot than asphalt & concrete, the scenery is better, and there’s something just plain fun about the floaty foot-placement, the hopping and dodging and balancing, that doesn’t come from running on roads. I guess it’s a sense of play instead of work; even sometimes the same blissful feeling you get when you dream about flying.
Every stride is a little hit of childhood. But that’s not even half the reward.
When I turned thirty the notion hit me that every year it’s good to take on an endeavor you feel is beyond your capability. To get out there and work towards a goal you think is impossible.
So my first such endeavor was running the Boston Marathon in Y2K. It was the hardest physical thing I’ve ever done, but let me tell you, my friends: coming across that finish line with a crowd of thousands cheering me on gave me pride that persists to this day. Or to be more accurate, it earned me that pride.
And you can have that, man. Hell, EVERYBODY can.
Your goal doesn’t have to be athletic. Maybe it’s learning calculus, or DIY punching out the dividing wall between your living room and kitchen to improve the flow of space in your home, or painting your masterpiece. Finishing NaNoWriMo. Just doing SOMETHING to stretch yourself.
Whatever it is, get out there and try. Even if you fail, you’ll obviously still reap rewards. Think about this quote from Calvin Coolidge, the thirtieth president of the United States:
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
So growth in your ability to persist is only one of many benefits of taking on seemingly a impossible challenge.
Well…I don’t know if I’ll ever graduate to the full ultra-marathon; the full hundred miles. May not even want to. For the moment it’ll be enough to put one foot in front of the other.