Nothin’ to do, nowhere to go. ~ The Ramones
When one stretches the fabric of the possible, it tends to help to narrow one’s focus as the big picture can become overwhelming. In ultra running, this is often spoken of as “relentless forward motion” or even focusing on each individual step. Where making thousands of steps seems impossible, focus on just moving to that next ridge/tree/fencepost or even just taking one more step can provide results.
Greg Joder, an amazing wildlife photographer, avid sea kayaker and fervent environmentalist sent me a link to Katie Spotz’ post about how to approach endurance challenges as she paddles – solo – across the Atlantic.
During some of my first endurance challenges I wasted too much energy questioning whether or not I could complete the challenge I set out for myself. The truth is that you never know until you try, and the worst thing you can do is not try. I learned to redefine failure, not as a failure to complete the feat, but a true failure as to not try. Fear of failure was one of the most difficult “mental walls” I faced.
Break it down. You don’t row across an ocean in a day so it’s important for me to break it down into daily, sometimes hourly, goals and focus on that one step ahead. If I lose sight of that one step, I can become overwhelmed by the magnitude of the challenge.
Know all things will pass. No matter how tired, hot, seasick, bored, lonely, etc. I get, it will pass. For some of my more grueling one-day challenges, like my ultra marathon (100k run), I can expect to go through all sorts of highs and lows all in a matter of hours.
Do not make it personal. Here on the ocean weather will do what it wants, equipment will break, things will not go according to “plan”. But it has nothing to do with me. So often I can think and feel that things are happening “for”, “against”, “to” me. Things are just happening and I can choose to accept it or put up the fight.
Understand the real challenge is me. The only thing that holds me back is me and it’s not about what happens but how I chose to react.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Read more about her adventure.