I recently had my ultramarathon (50 km) which was the longest run I’ve ever completed at the time of writing this. It was one hell of a ride because the route was located in one of the coldest places in my country, Atok — Baguio City.
Imagine having a cold temperature on a long-distance run. I was shaking and cannot breathe properly due to thin air! Every time I inhale I can feel the cold on my chest then every time I exhale I felt like I was a cold dragon.
I remembered in the middle of the race around 20 km, we were in a state where the fog was getting thick. My headlamp can’t give me a clear vision of where I was going. I cannot see far more than 10-20 meters.
Along with the cold temperature, the route is mostly downhill and a little uphill. But that doesn’t make the race easy at all. I thought having a downhill route will make the race a little easier because you don’t have to put much gas on to run faster.
It’s true that you don’t have to put much gas on but you need to be careful because when you get slipped. You and your body will roll straight down to the road. Your knees may also encounter some discomfort because of the downhill route. Our knees are the primary ones receiving the stress when on a downhill route.
While in the middle of this long and challenging race, I realized something important…
Competition Among The Pack
We all love competition. We love to compete with the best of the best among the pack. We want to know who’s the fastest racer. We want to stand on that podium while holding the medal or trophy we’ve earned. That’s really great! There’s nothing wrong about that.
When we receive our medal or trophy after reaching the finish line, it is indeed fulfilling to ourselves. The pride and joy you feel throughout your body are unexplainable.
The post-race gives you a feeling of accomplishment because you get the chance to share your story. You get the chance to share the suffering you’ve done and how you’ve overcome it. You also get the chance to share with everyone the medal or trophy you’ve attained.
Does the competition among the pack is the real purpose of running?
Or it is about the medal or trophy?
The Other Side Of Suffering
I ran a lot of race but this is the time where I solidified the purpose of running to myself. I discovered something new to myself. I discovered something worth sharing with others.
When I was in the middle of this race, I struggled and suffered a lot!
I can remember when my mind was shouting and complaining that it wants to give up. I needed to run a half marathon still but my mind was getting crazy. It doesn’t want to continue running.
My legs and feet are now aching and also saying to stop.
A lot of suffering is already happening to me throughout the race.
My mind says “I want to stop. I can’t do it anymore. Why are we here? Why are we doing this?”.
I told myself was “Let’s just see what will happen when we don’t give up”.
Then I continued running. I run again until my legs and feet hurt again.
Whenever I needed to stop because of the pain. I will go through the cycle of telling myself to see what will happen when we don’t give up. I wanted to see what’s on the other side of suffering.
Going through that cycle all over the race is where I discovered the Art Of Running.
The Art Of Running
The Art Of Running is not about the medals or trophies. Those things are just a bonus award for finishing the race. The Art Of Running happens when you are in the process of suffering in your race. The Art of Running is about having a connection between you and your mind. Since it happens in the process of the race, this is where you callus your mind to become better. This is where you gain peace with suffering. This is where you become the best version of yourself.
No matter how long or how fast you finish the race it is not important as taking the time and callusing your mind throughout the process.
When you are running and the moment your mind shifts to a weak mentality.
Do not entertain it. Do not listen to it. Do not ever allow it to take over you.
Once you allow it to take over you, it’s game over. You will have no chance to finish the race. You called the game early already.
But when you don’t allow it to take over, it’s going to be a long game. It’s going to be an interesting battle between you and your mind. This is where you take the soul of your weak mind and say “I will fight you and you will not take over.”.
When you surpass this moment, you will encounter the Art Of Running. This is where the Art Of Running will show its beauty.
And that for me is the power of the mind and the Art Of Running.
Bringing It All Together
I already have some thoughts about this during my previous runs, but this is the point where I solidified the idea of the art. It changed my perspective on running.
The respect I have for all the runners whether your purpose is different than mine is above the ceiling. You all have my respect for enduring the pain and having peace with the suffering. The way I looked running may be different than you but it doesn’t take away the fact that we are all warriors of our own mind.
Running is our way of achieving something great for ourselves. This is the challenge we give to ourselves to become much better.
My best of wishes to everyone who keeps on running and may you experience the Art Of Running in your own life events.
May you reach your dreams.