They say that people are either running away from something bad or towards something good.
‘If you do this then you’ll avoid that, if you do this you can have that’.
I thought about that a lot during the Endure24.
Running around in circles for 24 hours is a pretty pointless activity on the face of it.
All that effort & pain and not even getting anywhere.
I knew that the ‘carrot or stick’ question was exactly the kind of thing I’d be asking myself when the s**t started to hit the fan in the dead of night.
And if I was unsure before I began, it became very clear during those 24 hours what kind of runner I am.
What kind of person I am.
Standing on that start line, flitting between excited anticipation and absolute resignation to the fate of whatever unknown challenges lay ahead, it would have been easy to focus on the obvious problems.
I’d never run through the night.
I’d never run with a head torch.
I hadn’t run on trails since school cross country.
I had racked up just 9 runs totalling 190 miles over the previous 5 months.
Lots of things to get all hot & bothered about.
Focusing on the downside is easy to do.
It’s like a default setting for humans.
Worrying about how things aren’t going to to go plan
But there’s another way, if you’re ready for a little effort and faith.
Usually when you’re at Point A and you want to be at Point B you have a plan.
You get help from those who have gone before, and use their journeys as the blueprint for your own adventure.
But the greater the challenge the less you can rely on the experience of others to figure out how you’re going to get from A to B.
The only person you can truly rely on for the answers is yourself.
Nobody else knows exactly what it’s like to be you, with your personal circumstances and all of your head trash going on up there (previous experiences, failures, the stories you tell yourself etc.)
And this presents what can sometimes appear to be an insurmountable challenge: thinking that you don’t have the answers.
The overwhelm can stop you dead in your tracks. Logic wins the day.
But the good news is that you don’t need the answers to get started. You don’t need a complete and detailed plan.
You just need belief that the thing you want to do is possible.
And that you can confidently take the first few steps without too much trouble.
This was my approach.
Run 50 miles in the first 9 hours then figure out how you’re going to do the next 50 miles.
That was it. As I stood there on the start line I didn’t need to know how I was going to do the last 50 miles.
I had the hard evidence to support my belief that I could run the first 50, and I had the faith that I would then have everything I needed to put together the 2nd half of the plan.
You can look at the big picture from up above but it’s only when you’re there on the ground that you’re able to make the crucial decisions that will dictate the outcome.
Not knowing how to finish something is no excuse not to get started.
Don’t get so bogged down in the detail that you feel crippled by the overwhelm.
Your own personal 100 Mile Challenge might not be to run 100 miles.
I’d be surprised if it was.
But I’m willing to bet that there’s something that you haven’t started because you don’t know if how you’ll finish it.
Whatever your 100 Mile Challenge is, just go out and get started and have faith in yourself to find the answers as and when they’re asked.