“Are you crazy? You can’t do that! You’ll die!”
That’s what a close loved-one said to me when I announced that I had just signed up for the biggest physical challenge of my life–a 50-mile ultramarathon. When people heard this for the first time, I couldn’t blame them for their reaction. When they said something like “holy shit! you’re crazy!” or assume “you must be a big time runner!” After all, that’s exactly what I would have said when I first heard of someone running two marathons in a row.
Before signing up for the 50, though, I wasn’t crazy (debatable, yes), but I (certainly) wasn’t a big time runner. In fact, 13.1 miles–a half marathon–is the longest distance I had ever raced.”So, what the f*ck were you thinking?” you might ask. “If you hadn’t even run a full marathon before, why are you going after a 50? What makes you think you can? Are you nuts? Did I miss something?” You didn’t miss anything. In fact, I would totally understand your “bafflement.” As a matter of fact, I had said the same thing–not about myself, but about someone else–which ended up being the very reason I signed up for the 50 in the first place.
Earlier in the year, I had heard about someone signing up for a 50-miler. I immediately thought–that’s insane. That’s impossible. I didn’t even know if I heard that right, because it just sounded a bit too crazy. There’s no way anyone runs 50 miles. I dismissed it. But then, I came across this guy named “Hal Elrod.” He’s the author of the book “The Miracle Morning” (which is a great book by the way). Interestingly, the book has exactly nothing to do with running. Not per se, anyway. But in this book, I read about a guy who hated running! Then, even though he hated running, this guy went from never running at all, to skipping a marathon, and running an ultramarathon!
“Whoa!” I thought. Something hit me like a brick in the face. A couple weeks prior when I heard of someone running a 50, I had immediately dismissed it as “crazy,” or “impossible.” Now I had to get real with myself. After reading about Hal, I realized that the only reason I would never run a 50 is because my default response was it couldn’t ever be done. Meaning, it wasn’t the actual 50 miles itself that would hold me back. It was my own thinking!
“Holy shit,” I thought. If this happened with something physical like 50 miles, where else is this showing up in my life? What other areas in my life or business do I just dismiss things as something that “can’t be done,” or “impossible?” Not because they actually are, but because I just believe that they are! That’s not the way I want to live. I want to live in possibility. I want to live in growth. I want to live in abundance. That’s what made me want to breakthrough this default line of limited thinking.
“I’m going to do it!” I said to myself. I’m going to take a shot at the impossible. Besides, if “Hal” can do it, then “Cal” can do it! I didn’t know what would happen. I didn’t know if I could finish. All I knew is I had to face that internal limitation; and even if it beat the crap out of me, I had to at least give it a shot.
What could you be holding back on? What power do you have that you didn’t even know? What are you way more capable of than you think you are?
Catch part 2 of this article here: An Unlikely Finish to One Man’s 50 Miles!