Sadly, many in life are afraid of the battle that is closest to them. One, that without their choosing, finds them regularly engaged with the enemy. And yet they choose not to fight. Accepting defeat and the great sorrow it brings.
And it is me who is my enemy
Me who beats me up
Me who makes the monsters
Me who strips my confidence
Paul Cole – Me (read all the lyrics)
Who Is The Enemy?
The enemy is the voice inside. The part of our brain, assigned the task of keeping us safe. Fight or flight. We often choose flight. I’m not talking about some street fight. I’m talking about life.
A voice, speaks to us of the inherent danger in what stands before us. Laser focused on risk. Seeing no reward. Blinded by opportunity. Focused purely on the possible dangers ahead. There is no probability. Everything will hurt you. And the more room you give the voice, the louder it becomes. A truly never ending battle is being waged.
One simple fear becomes many. Soon, as life takes hold, the majority are frozen. Riddled with excuses for why they are too old. Not enough time. Too many financial obligations. You name it. The list is long. Hard work and courage are overshadowed with excuses. One of the truly great tragedies of life.
Don’t Live in An External World, Go Inside Yourself
David Goggins (you have to study this guy)
Turn Back Fear
There are a lot of activities I enjoy in life. One is spending time with the elderly. You can learn a lot from someone who has lived. But, you sense their frailness. Their fear. Not of death, but of life. Afraid to go outside or continue their routine. Sadly, it is the beginning of the end. It’s not something I like to witness. But I do like to encourage them to take a step back.
Think of your twenties. Fresh out of high school. Invincible. A know-it-all. You had life figured out. You were in charge. Nothing was stopping you. Now reflect on your life today. Are you the same fearless, risk taker? Or are you more calculated? Calculated is good. Twenty somethings can be dangerous with risk.
What about now? Are you a calculated risk taker or do you simply listen to that voice that tells you what you cannot do? I’ll be the first to admit, I have become more cautious today, than I was in my younger days. Sometimes overthinking versus simply jumping in.
Good Excuse, I’m Fifty
I’ve run over ten ultra-marathons in my life (50 miles plus foot races). Up until last year, I had not run one in about eight years. I took a hiatus. I was retired. I had nothing to prove when it comes to running. I have done it all.
But I was wrong. I had everything to prove to myself. At age 49 I ran a fifty miler on my own one morning (actually one day). Why? I had dropped out of a race just four days prior. And it was eating at me. The failure of my action was too much. Armed with determination, I woke up, and started running the first of what would be fifty thousand steps. Ten hours later I finished another race. I was satisfied. For the moment.
But then life, once again became too comfortable. I was beginning to reflect on what I had done and not on what I could do. I found my runs becoming harder. And the voice saying how I would never run that distance again. I needed to do something. But in June I turned fifty. Clearly a valid excuse to not do another endurance event.
I Had To Do Something
BS! I had to do something. I had to run another ultra. And so I did, Bear Chase Fifty Mile Run, Wait, What?. But that was not enough. At age fifty, a spark is lit once again. Next up a number of 50K and 50 mile races as I prepare for my second hundred mile (first was a DNF due to pneumonia). The year leading up to this race and the race itself, will likely be one of the biggest wars I will wage with my mind.
I’m so excited about the year before me. I won’t win every battle, but I will win the war. Amid an amazing period of self-discovery, my life will become even freer than it is today.
But I have to fight it. I cannot let the enemy attack and stand still. Life is too long. Not too short. I have too many years, goals and opportunities before me, to simply quit and give up.
But you can´t kill my spirit, it’s old and it is strong
And like a mountain I’ll go on and on
Paula Cole – Me
I’ll leave you with one visual, one I attribute to the wisdom of David Goggins. It was during my recent fifty mile race. At mile 35 I made a rookie mistake and ran out of fluids. Rather than go back the half mile to the closest aid station, I marched on in the heat. Three miles later I met my crew, they refueled me and I began my final twelve mile loop. But it was too late. I was dehydrated and anything I tried to put in my stomach came right back up.
David Goggins talks about hitting walls. How you have to run alongside the wall until you find a door to gain entry. I knew no doors would open and that today, I would have to run around the wall. For the next few hours I envisioned a wall alongside my left. Passing each door, knowing entry was not allowed. But knowing soon the wall would end. It is where I would gain entry. It was truly an amazing experience in my life. A difficult battle on the surface, yet an emotional and teaching moment within.