I’m two days removed from my first ever 100k Ultra (UROC 100k) and I feel great!
Really? Well, yes and no.
No, because my body hurts (more on this later).
Yes, because I feel alive. So alive!
Bad to the Bone did a fantastic job and put on a great race. The course was beautiful. The views breathtaking. But the race, extremely difficult. I guess you could say that it was miserably awesome!
I’m super proud that I was able to run, more like grind, my way through the mountains of Virginia for 62 miles. The 17 hours that it took me to traverse the rocky, steep course, through the rain and fog, allowed me a lot of time to think.
Here’s what I’m limping away with …
1.Comfort kills. It kills dreams. Passions. Even lives! It’s a natural craving and desire for us. But, we must fight them. Everything (absolutely everything) worth doing is hard. And it’s only when we get out of our comfort zone that we truly feel alive. When was the last time you bragged about staying at home on your couch all day watching Netflix? Get out of your comfort zone!
2. Life’s a mental battle. One of the greatest battles we’ll ever face is the one that goes on between our ears. Did I want to quit during the race? Countless times! “Why are you doing this?” “You’re going to hurt yourself if you don’t stop?” “Is it worth it to suffer like this?” “You can’t do this. You didn’t train enough!” These kinds of questions and accusations invaded my mind throughout the race. But I fought them. And crushed them. I didn’t end up hurting myself (Thank God!). And it was absolutely worth it all!
3. Don’t entertain doubt. Your own self-doubt. Or the doubts of others. The critics are everywhere. And so are the ‘experts.’ But don’t listen to them. Don’t listen to anybody who tells you that you can’t. Choose to believe. Choose to push back the boundaries. To expand your limits. To grow. To become all that God’s created you to become.
4. Potatoes covered in salt are amazing! Having these during the race is like a little slice of heaven. My hands down favorite ultra snack. Try ‘em during your next marathon or ultra if you get the chance.
5. Teamwork makes the dreamwork. I couldn’t have done it without my team. No, I’m not a pro or sponsored ultrarunner. But we all have a team. They’re the people we do life with. They’re always there. No matter what. My wife, kids, sister-in-law (Caitlin) and best friend (Andrew) were there for me during the race. They reminded me of what I’m capable of. They encouraged me. Gave me strength. And others who couldn’t be there were lifting me up in prayer. No doubt those prayers helped carry me through. Life’s about people. Thompson Family Rule #9: Value experiences over things. Simply put, you don’t remember things. You remember experiences shared with those you love. I love the belt buckle I earned as a prize. But what will last and stick with me are the memories I made with my team. Surround yourself with the right people – people who you can trust. Who share your values and vision. (By the way, Daphne and Caitlin kicked fanny and crushed the 25k race!)
6. What’s Success? Is it getting 1st place? Is it finishing? Would I have been successful if I didn’t finish? First off, we must define this for ourselves. But if I got injured, or for whatever reason, had to withdraw from the race, it would’ve still been a success. Because to me, success is doing the uncomfortable. It’s signing up for the race. And showing up at the starting line prepared to give it your all. It’s not always about the result. I don’t run these races because I love running. For me, it’s about figuring out what I’m truly made of. It’s about seeing how far I can go. It’s about growing. About becoming the best Wells Thompson I can be. We’re capable of so much more than we can imagine or fathom. Do you believe that? These races help me believe that! The only way failure would’ve occurred is if I let the doubts, temporary pain, or fears cause me to not sign up, not show up or quit.
7. Remind yourself OFTEN of what truly matters. Make it easy on yourself. Put up quotes. Or pictures around your house. Or in your car of things or people that remind you. Put a daily appointment in your calendar with an alert. Fill your mind, heart and soul with good things. Life is too short. Too fragile. And we are too easily distracted. I run all my ultra-races with an armband that reads, “Nathan 27.” I look at it frequently. Especially during the difficult stretches. Nathan was a friend of mine who went home to be with Jesus way too early. He gives me strength. He reminds me of what truly matters. You’ve got one life to live. Live it well!
8. Don’t make excuses. I came up with ‘everything under the sun’ as to why I should quit. I told myself things like… “I barely trained for this.” “I don’t want to mess my hip up anymore.” “This is stupid.” “I’m too cold.” “It’s not that big of a deal. I should just stop. Call it a day.” And on and on. The race was hard. I took a beating, just like everyone else. My left ankle is swollen. Twice the size of my right. My left big toenail is black and blue. Completely dead (Don’t kick rocks. They are hard!) It’ll take days before I’ll walk normally again. But yes, it was all worth it. What excuses are holding you back?
Be bold. Be brave. Keep the faith!