A friend of mine, Matt Gibble, just left for Lake Placid to run an Iron Man Race. That’s swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and running a marathon distance of 26.2 miles. Just the thought of thinking about this tires me out.
In speaking to Matt before he left, he told me a story of a 30+ year old male who runs the Iron Man Race with his young son who has Cerebral Palsy. During the bike race, he puts his son on the back in a seat. During the run, he pushes a carriage. I’m not sure exactly how he does it in the swim competition. While speed is obviously not of high importance to this young man, having his son be part of the experience is.
Matt tells of the time he was struggling through the competition, pushing himself mentally to finish, when all of a sudden he comes across this young man competing with his son. “When you see this, you ask yourself what’s wrong with this picture. Compared to this hero, I have no obstacles holding me back.” It’s at that point that Matt was able to put aside his doubts and power forward.
All of us face doubts about our ability to compete in tough times sooner or later. The issue is not that you have these thoughts. This is natural. The question is do you allow these thoughts to weigh you down and prevent you from finishing the race? Remember, whatever you are suffering from, someone has it worse. All of us suffer. But do we allow our suffering to stop us?
When you feel stopped, just think about this nameless hero who did not let his son’s debilitating disease stop him from competing in what has to be one of the toughest endurance events ever devised.
Like the old saying goes: It’s all about mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.