“The seeds of the opposite are planted in the present” or “whatever you are feeling at the moment the opposite is coming.”
In ultra-running, guaranteed whatever you are feeling at the moment the opposite is on its way. I have experienced this reality many times. It goes both ways. You can get into an aid station completely spent with little energy, you sit for a few minutes, eat some food, stumble back to the trail, and then 200 yards down the trail feel rejuvenated. Or, you can be running along with lots of energy and feeling good and all of a sudden you lose energy.
Life and business can be very similar. For example, when times are going well in our work lives, we are often unwittingly planting the seeds of the opposite. When things are going well, we can get arrogant, think that our success is because of how smart we are, and expect that things will always be this good. As a result, we can get sloppy, loose focus, and suddenly find ourselves behind the competition.
In running and in life, we can work to lessen the chances of the opposite happening if we continually plant seeds of renewal. In running I have learned to make sure that I am getting adequate calories, I have learned how to train better, and to get proper rest, all of these help me get to the finish line (at the Burning River 100 mile run several weeks ago, I never lost energy). In life I have learned that disciplines like daily meditation, regular exercise, check-in with mentors, and living in community resource me and give me a pool of resilience that I can draw from when things get tough.
Today I experienced twinges and pains that I had not experienced so far this week. Lunch was 21 miles down the trail. By around mile 16, I was really struggling. I think perhaps my running body had a 200-mile warranty and when I crossed that milepost today the body started to fall apart.
But then a good lunch, 15 minutes rest on a chair, rolling some of my sore muscles, and I suddenly felt much better. The clincher was when my grandson Lincoln sent me a video telling me to “run fast grandpa.” And then things started to change, and I finished the 32 miles strong.
A highlight of the day was a two-hour-plus hymn sing with Anna. She road bike with me for most of the miles today. In the morning she was humming “Come thou font” to herself and I started to sing along. We ended up singing hymns, Christmas, and Easter songs for over two hours.
I have 26 miles left to the Ohio River tomorrow. Then the last 9.5 miles in Holmes County on Saturday morning with friends and family. It has been a wonderful week. Thanks to the amazing support of my crew – Jerry, Kathy, and Anna and others earlier in the week, I feel ready to weather both the good and the difficult times tomorrow to get to the river.