Sat sipping on a decaf cortado here in Cafe Nero, East Grinstead reflecting on Saturday. Less than two-days removed since concluding South Downs Way 100-mile footrace. I’d like to say I’ve made sense of the experience and processed those 19 hours and 47 minutes, but the truth is, I really haven’t. In fact, I never really do.
The Smilinggg Man is my alter-ego. It’s the chap I morph into on the morning of any ultra endurance endeavour. Focused. Disciplined. Driven. Intentional. I can’t live as this man for longer than the challenge duration. As soon as I cross the finish line, James returns. Overwhelmed and in disbelief that what just happened actually happened.
So I’m sat here writing as James. The guy who cannot quite comprehend and make sense of these challenges either. But I have faith that when called upon, The Smilinggg Man returns to overcome whatever obstacle lays in his way.
I train day in and day out to be immersed in nature. To train in mindfulness. Meditative movement. To enjoy each and every step. Slow, steady, or fast. In love with the process. In love with the moment.
I race to see what and who the process has enabled me to become. To see what I am made of. To witness the highs, the lows and to remain comfortable when uncomfortable. To grow. To learn. To obtain tools and experiences that will help me become a better human being. To be better equipped to cope with whatever life decides to throw my way.
Is there a takeaway from this post? I’m not sure. Perhaps it’s that we all have an alter-ego within us. Maybe it’s lay dormant. But it’s definitely there to be developed.
The best way I know to develop that side of ourselves is to do things that are hard. That stretch us. That require us to grow and develop to stand a chance of attaining what we are striving for.
The most beautiful thing about it? Whether you achieve or fall short of the goal, the same outcome exists. You’ve grown as a human through the process - and ultimately that’s what it is all about.
Ultra running is my hard thing but it could be anything that ignites your heart and spirit. What’s yours?
Steps 👣 + Smiles 🤗
Keep #Smilinggg 💛