Right now, I am sitting in my bed with my MacBook Pro propped up on a pillow. The reason is that I can’t walk…yet. I ran 50 miles through the night Saturday and finished just as the sun was rising on Sunday morning. It was to raise money for cancer research for the American Cancer Society Relay For Life. Along the way I learned a lot! Here I am going to share with you 5 Lessons I will never forget.
5 Lessons I Will Never Forget From Running 50 Miles
(in no particular order)
Lesson #1: Life does not always go as planned.
So here I was after 10 weeks of training with no injuries, cruising along with confidence coursing through my veins. Then on mile 15 something happened…it was not good. My left knee suddenly screamed in pain. With each stride it became more and more intense. As I continued the pain became so great that I had to stop, put my hands on my knees and convince myself it wasn’t serious.
The pain was searing much like a jagged steak knife and I felt like I was going to vomit. At one point, I threw up in my mouth and just swallowed it, laughed a little and kept running.
Life does not always go as planned but that does not mean it’s the end. It just means you have to modify your plan and find another way. Whatever your goal is you must BE SO DETERMINED THAT THERE IS NO OTHER OPTION EXCEPT VICTORY.
Lesson #2: Seek the Wisdom of the Masters
When I set the goal of running 50 miles in front of 300 people at the BB3 Rapid Fire Seminar, I knew that I needed help. At that point, I had not run anything close to 50 miles. In fact, I hadn’t run more than 5 miles in years. Any time I have a goal I always hire a coach and not just any coach I find someone who lives it and is highly successful at coaching others. The man I hired is Stu Mittleman. Just to give you a few of his accomplishments. He is in the World Ultra Marathon Hall of Fame. He has run 1,000 miles in 11 days and he has run from San Diego to New York City. On his way to New York he was scheduled to appear on the Today Show. The problem was he was running so fast he was too early. The producers asked him to slow down, he said “I will just take the long way.”
If it were not for Stu’s coaching I would not have been successful. His wisdom and experience propelled me from novice to advanced in weeks rather than years. The lesson here is don’t let your ego get in your way. If you read a few books or have been training for years that does not mean you know it all. I have coaches all year round depending on my goal. It makes a massive difference and its a great way to get to your goal faster without making as many mistakes.
Lesson #3: Pain is an Opportunity to Become More or Less
Many times throughout my training for the event I endured pain. I would run between 1 and 4 hours per day often times I had worked all day and last thing that I wanted to do was go run at 9pm for 2 hours then wake up at 5am. That was a mental pain that I had to overcome. Just committing to putting my shoes on and starting took care of that.
Physical pain was at its greatest during the 50 mile run. I honestly can’t say I have ever felt that intense level of pain for such a prolonged period of time. There was one particular moment when a thought came into my head “what if I can’t do it?” I was on mile 18 and I could not bend my knee more than a few inches. Any weight on my leg sent a sharp shooting pain through my entire body. Even in this state, I looked around at my friends, at the cancer survivors and I knew I would find a way…even if I had to crawl I was going to finish.
It is in moments of great pain, of great challenge, of the greatest adversity that we have an opportunity to become more. These are the moments when our character is forged into something to be proud of. This is where you go from living like a lamb to living like a LION.
It is also in these moments if we choose the easy way out that we become less. We grow mentally and physically weak. We lose confidence in ourselves and our abilities. We retreat to our comfort zone where our dreams slowly die. Never give in to the pain. Embrace its gift.
Lesson #4: Live Your Own Legend
Everyone I have ever met loves movies. They love to see how ordinary people overcome immense adversity, betrayal, and even death and become extraordinary as a result. Even the people who simply act the roles are idolized as if they really did it. Mel Gibson was never Braveheart, Tom Cruise was never really a spy, Russell Crowe was not really a Gladiator and Angelina Jolie never ran around as Lara Croft except in movie land. They are all awesome but they simply acted like they were doing these things. You can live it.
Each of us is extraordinary. Don’t let life live you. Go live life. Let’s face it. Sometimes life is going to kick your ass but that doesn’t mean you can’t kick its ass. When things are going good we tend to wait for something bad to happen. Rather than wait for your demise, go out and do something EPIC! Do something legendary. You have it in you. For me, I ran 50 miles for a good cause to challenge myself, to condition my mind to endure adversity and see what I’m made of. For you it will be completely different. It’s for you to decide.
Lesson #5: Make a Difference in the Lives of Others & It will Make a Difference in Yours.
There is a great song that is called “You Get What You Give” by the Free Radicals. I think it is on everyone of my playlists on my Ipod. It reminds me of the simple fact that life is not about getting things but by giving and helping others…by serving rather demanding do we truly receive.
I have run into many people who believe they are entitled to more money, more fame, more happiness. Yet they complain, bitch, moan and criticize others about how its not fair that this person has this and they only have that. This is destructive thinking. They are focused only upon themselves. While they are dedicating their energy to bringing others down, they fail to realize the people they complain about are successful because they focus on serving others and making a difference.
When I was running I was touched by how many people came out to support me. Many of my friends who are clients of ours came out and stayed the entire night. I did not run a single lap alone. There was always a group of extraordinary souls around me. What I learned was that the love and support of your friends and family is the most powerful fuel of all. And the way to fill your tank with that fuel is only by loving and supporting others and serving to the best of your ability.
Bonus Lesson: Mile 51
After I completed 50 miles and after many hugs, much gratitude and congratulations, I did an extra mile. Why? Because “always go the extra mile” is a saying that has stood the test of time and I could think of no better way to live it than to do it.
When you show the world your best, you bring out the best in the world.
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