The day was April 10 of this year. I woke up with one goal in mind; to run 100 miles. If I were to succeed, I would achieve two incredible outcomes:
(1) The fulfillment of a lifelong dream, and
(2) Raising $3277 for the Green Beret Foundation and the MSG Andrew Markesano Suicide Prevention fund.
People often ask what compelled me to run 100 miles, and admittedly, I am still trying to process that myself. I’ve learned that running ultra-distance is all about self-discovery and changing my frame of reference. When I started my fitness journey nearly 3 years ago, the idea of running a 5k seemed like an impossible task. Fast forward to this past winter, and I was running a full marathon before work, multiple times a week, as a regular training run. When you change your frame of reference you also change what you perceive as possible. This continual shift in reference has pushed me to constantly find those outer limits of what I used to think was impossible.
A beautiful byproduct of running ultra-distances is a significant amount of time to think, process, unpack, and create. For someone like me who always has a perspective (and usually shares it), spending the day on the trail with no one to talk to is an incredibly introspective period. Life is passing by increasingly faster as I get older. As I type this, my wife and I are settling into our new home as we prepare to introduce Baby #3 to this world. As you can imagine, my opportunities to spend time in self-thought are limited. Running has created that space for me.
While not a comprehensive list, here are a few of the many things I have learned throughout my training and 100-mile journey:
- Lack of sleep significantly impairs your ability to problem-solve.
- With practice, the notification system that tells you, “Ouch! this doesn’t feel good,” can be ignored.
- Your mind is incredibly powerful and can push well beyond what your body is saying.
- Small, consistent improvements, day in and day out, slowly add up to some incredible feats.
- Mental tricks are incredibly effective.
- Instead of saying, “I want to quit,” replace it with, “I want to be done.”
- For example, I ran through ankle-deep mud and water for 12 hours. Whenever it became too much, I would think about being a child and how much fun it was to play in the mud and water. This attitude shift changed my perspective from dread to joy.
- If it hurts to walk and it hurts to run, then you might as well run!
- Stay present – you need to stay in the current mile. Similarly in life, I believe you always need to be living in the moment.
You may be asking why one employee’s journey to run 100 miles is posted on a consulting company’s blog? One of the many unexpected gifts I have received from working at eimagine is the continual opportunity to change my frame of reference in the workspace. eimagine truly embraces the “choose your own adventure” mantra and supports employees in this pursuit by encouraging training on new and exciting technologies, taking on adventurous projects, and getting involved in the community.
Who knows, perhaps next year a new eimagine employee will be writing about running 101 miles!
-Matt Roberts, Senior Project Manager