Before every event that requires alot of planning and preparation, it’s worth remembering that there are multiple possibilities for successful outcome. During the planning, preparation, and the event itself, it’s worth thinking through what these outcomes may be in order to stay encouraged and motivated.
A big life lesson that I’ve learned through my brief career in ultra running is not to view success/failure as an either/or. Most of our “big projects” in life — starting and running a business, following a career path, raising children, pursuing interests — are done with multiple intentions and purposes. Yet, we tend to evaluate the “bottom line” if we are evaluating success or failure.
I think back to some of the reasons that I began to prepare for the 50 miler that I mentioned yesterday. Some of them have been: improvement in my health (I was quite overweight and had sky high blood pressure — now I’m only moderately overweight!), fitness, increased sense of well-being, enjoying the outdoors, having time to think, releasing endorphins, meeting interesting people, and accepting a challenge. Most of these benefits have been fulfilled through the process of accepting this challenge and preparing for it.
I read somewhere that it’s important to distinguish between the process and the product, and to find joy in the process of what we are doing. Too often, people live only for the product. If we consider that life is probably 99 percent process and 1 percent product, it makes sense to find as much joy as possible in the 99 percent rather than living for the 1 percent.
Make no mistake. I’m looking forward to reaping the benefits of the habits I have sown. But it’s also a great time to think through how a successful outcome may be measured in ways other than “the bottom line.”
So, here are some possible successful outcomes for the Iron Horse 50:
Get To Starting Line Healthy: I signed up. paid my money, did some preparation, didn’t get lost on the way to the event, and didn’t wimp out!
Manage to run between 1-32 miles: Nice supported run (snacks make everything better!). Great day out in the woods doing something I enjoy. Seeing a place I have never been. Meeting new people and encouraging them.
32 miles plus: All of the above, plus running farther than I ever have before!
50 miles in 12-14 hours: Wild success!
Completed 50 miles and survived: Everything I set out to do!