I awakened yesterday at 7000 feet elevation in the gorgous mountains of Big Bear, California. I was there to particpate in the Holcomb Valley 33 Miler with a total elevation gain of 4000 feet throughout the course. I was aware that my training had gotten little off track, so doing the full 33 miles was hanging in my head as a big fat not so sure feeling. I wasn’t nervous, but I was trying to be realistic. I determined that the best approach was to consider the race as a training run for my upcoming Kodiak race and Mount Whitney climb that is on my schedule. But still– it IS 33 miles and that’s alot of work whether a training run or not.
When I arrived at registration, I asked about the course to make sure I knew how to get back if my body was not repsonding well to the physical requirements for the day once I got out there. When faced with uncertainty, I like to understand my options so that I am prepared. These types of races need to be taken seriously for many reasons, but it can be difficult for search and rescue to reach you if there is a problem. (This photo is with Susie Schmelzer who was part of the search and rescue team yesterday. She also knows alot about these mountains as the race director for the Kodiak Ultras). In any case, I learned that I could cut my race down to the 15 mile course at mile 12 by taking it to the finish, or I could continue in the other direction in which I would be continuing my 33 mile adventure.
That point was suddenly in front of me, but I did not stop or even pause. I kept going on the 33 mile course and sort of giggled saying to myself “I guess you’re doing the 33.” And that brings me to my friend, Mike Sherbakov, founder of The Greatness Foundation. I recently noted in a post how I love wearing my #dogreatthings trucker cap when I am pacing races, but I also love it when I am out there against myself in a race because not only does it remind me to stay strong, it reminds someone that is near me to do the same. I get comments on the hat every time. These types of races are tough. Even though I used it as a training race, I had numerous moments in the day when I tried to talk myself into giving up– but I refused. I reminded myself of how fortunate I am to even BE ABLE to be on the course. I would do a quick check – “Are you inured? No. Is your stomach upset? No. Can you keep moving forward. Yes.” Then, that is the plan. I chose to dig into my strength and courage. I finished the race, and considering where my training level is for altitude, elevation and distance, it was perfectly executed. Now, how can I apply this to other parts of my life?
Today, I was reminded that to DO GREAT THINGS (this time, I am not talking about racing, but rather helping others), we have to commit, be strong and very courageous. Is something gnawing at you that you know you must do? Is there some GREAT THING you can do to help others be awesome or have a better life? It takes strength and courage, even for those of us who are experienced. It takes strength and courage even for those of us who know what to do, but might be struggling to actually do it. It takes strength and courage to trust.
Surrounding yourself with the commitment to have the strength and courage to do great things, not just your personal adventures (like my 33 miler), will give life to someone else. THAT has no failure and only your fear will get in the way, if you let it. That is why being strong and very courageous is the only way.