Over the last few months, I’ve received a lot of questions as to how I plan on running 100 miles in one day. Some questions range from the logistical— is it 100 miles straight? To the ridiculous– will you wear an adult diaper? The answers to these particular questions is pretty simple…yes to former and no to the latter.
But why 100 miles? Why would anyone in their right mind ever want to run 100 miles? Though the idea of this might seem overwhelming to some, to me it sounds absolutely amazing. And here’s why…
- Running 100 miles, in my opinion, is the ultimate test of human endurance. It
takes us to places, both mentally and physically that we don’t typically get to experience in our every day lives.
- Confronting physical and mental challenges brings out the best in us because
we are deciding to choose pain. Sometimes in life, unfortunate things happen where we don’t choose pain and are forced to confront it. But when we choose these endurance races, it helps us to gain the strength we need for when life inevitably throws something painful at us that we are not be expecting.
3) The uncertainty of the unknown intrigues many ultra marathoners including myself. Much of my life is predictable. I get up at the same time everyday, workout at the same time, eat at the same times and so on.
But there was a time where many of us in civilization didn’t know where our next meal would come from. When you think about how far removed have we’ve become from who we once were–hunters and gatherers with an intense need to survive to timid and cautious individuals that lead very predictable lives.
It becomes apparent that many of us are living lives of complete comfort not realizing that many good things like resiliency, perseverance and mental strength, all come from putting ourselves in uncomfortable situations.
- We tend to think of suffering and joy as mutually exclusive—where there is suffering, there can be no joy. But in long-distance running, I have experienced what I can only describe as joy in suffering. And I am not the only one. Endurance athletes often talk about ‘going into the pain cave’ or ‘enjoying the pain’. Ultra marathon runner and overall badass David Goggins remarked to his wife after breaking all the tendons in his feet, tearing ligaments and defecating on himself following a hundred miler– ‘let me enjoy this pain for a little while before you take me home’.
It is inexplicable, I think, because we harbour too simplistic an idea of what joy and suffering mean. Joy is not synonymous with happiness and suffering is not the same as pain. Joy is instead a deep sense of well-being that springs from the feeling that things are right with the world. And while suffering might involve pain or unpleasant feelings, it is more fundamentally about submitting to a process of change. Properly understood, there is nothing mutually exclusive about joy and suffering; we can feel alright about submitting to change.
I’ve always thought that running was a great metaphor for life because with running, as in life, our task is not to eliminate suffering once and for all but to change our relationship with it.
Follow me on any of my Instagram pages to see me run my first 100 miler in April 2019!!!