Endurance Runners: Why They Do It

Endurance Runners: A special breed of men and women who push themselves to their physical and mental limits, and then push even harder.

They drive themselves to the brink of complete exhaustion and then go even further. They train to endure, to outlast; not the competition but themselves. Long after most would have quit, they continue on with an unquenchable thirst for more. More pain, more agony, more suffering. It is in this pain that they discover who they really are.

Their tanks are never empty. They always have more. When they run out of strength, they are able to dig deeper than most to find that little extra drop of determined courage to continue. Their minds are unharnessed by the limitations of mortality and their hearts are free from the strain and pressure of societal conformity. The quest to find meaning in their existence stretches far beyond fatigue. In fact, fatigue is only the starting point.

Everyone understands fatigue, but most never tap into the innermost recesses of their spirit to discover the inner grit and determination to push past fatigue.
If they were to venture into this abyss of mental and physical anguish, they too would understand that life is more rewarding when we explore these dark and remote corners of our soul.

For them, there is no end…no finish line. There’s only more to challenge and discover.

“The cure for the pain is in the pain” – Rumi

Most people wait for the feelings of fear, sorrow and misery to find them (and it does find all of us), but endurance runners seek them out. They know that the only way to beat them is to face them head on.

When you ask, “why do you put yourself through this?”, you’ll often hear them say “I can’t explain it to you”. They’re not saying this to be pretentious…no, endurance runners are far from egotistical.

They’re saying it because they know that the only way you’d ever understand it would be by putting yourself in those same dark and lonely places of the soul and fighting your way out. There are important lessons to be learned in the pain of life. Don’t wait for it to find you. Seek to find it, understand it, fight through it and learn from it.

My Mind Will Carry Me When My Body Cannot

I was an obese kid for most of my life. It severely limited my social interactions with others and led me to develop a very low self-view of myself. I fought depression and a negative self-image for decades, until I found running. Although I am no longer that shy, awkward, overweight kid, he still lives in my head from time to time. I never dreamed that I would ever be able to run 5 miles, much less 20, 30, 40, or 50 miles. There are thousands of others out there that face the same issues and I know how they feel. They feel trapped inside of their own bodies and minds.

God gave us a tremendous gift in the body that we have. It can do amazing things if we are willing to step out of our comfort zone. I hope to show others that they can accomplish amazing things if they will allow God to strip away the self-imposed barriers that surround them. Running does that for me. For others, it may be getting a degree when no one else in their family has done so. It could be stepping out of an abusive relationship or surrendering an addiction that they have to God, the Universe, or whatever it is that you believe in. No matter what the issues are, the lesson is the same; with the right attitude, patience, perseverance, and support anything and everything becomes possible.

No matter what may be holding you back, victory starts with one step forward. Raise your hand and say, this (fill in the blank) will no longer rule my life. Food will no longer guide my thoughts and actions. The abuse stops today, right here and right now. I will complete this degree. I will complete this race. I will show the world that I own this body. I own this mind. I will train this mind and my body will follow. Enough is enough and today is the day that I decide to pursue freedom from my self-imposed limitations. I am where I am because of my decisions and tomorrow has not yet been decided. The story of my life is not over, but I will decide how it ends. Now get up, get out there, and chase your dreams.