The Limits of the Mind

For each of us, our perceived limit of what is possible is different.  I have many friends who do not run long distances and some who do not run at all.  I have watched eyes glaze over when I talk about my upcoming 50km run or even the 3 hour run I did on the weekend.  Yet I completely understand the glazed-eye look, because I often get it when others talk about something beyond the limits of my  mind.  (For example, who can imagine playing test cricket for more than 5 days?)

Recently, I was getting some updates about a friend who was running an unbelievably long race (The Iditarod Trail Invitational 350 miles).  Upon reading about her daily progress, I caught myself wondering if running such a distance in such conditions were even possible.  What nerve I have!  While she was plodding along, day after day, in the darkness of an Alaskan winter, I was simultaneously questioning if what she was doing was real.

It struck me then that I had come across something that my brain could not process.  The limits of my imagination in running had been reached and my eyes were being opened to a bigger picture.

I had the glazed-eye look that I have seen countless times on the faces of non-running friends.  But this time it was my turn to abandon my facial composure while I stretched my thinking beyond its regular boundaries.  Mental gymnastics ain’t pretty!

I have run a variety of distances, with 50 miles being the farthest that I have pushed myself in one day.  But, although that is the limit that I have imposed on my body, it isn’t the limit of my mind.  I have attended many 100km and 100 miles races.  I have crewed for Bruce in countless events that I considered too long/tough/gruelling/crazy/etc for me but I understand that these are all in the realm of possible.  Even multi-day events, totalling a couple hundred kilometres of running, are plausible to me.  But for some reason, running the Iditarod race was hard to fathom.

But that is all in the past now.  Thanks to Shawn and her amazing run, I have added running 350 miles in the arctic to my list of possible, although highly unlikely, running endeavours.

Where is your mind’s limit for running endurance?  How far can you imagine going?

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Along A Path

general lover-of-life, including ultra-running, teaching, enjoying craft brews, being outdoors and living simply

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