Lessons From 48 Miles in 48 HoursNov 18, 2023
I spent the last three months in a mastermind with 11 other entrepreneurs that culminated with us meeting in the Colorado Rockies to complete a difficult physical challenge. The 12 of us had to run a combined 480 miles in 48 hours. To pull my weight, I was responsible for 40 of those miles.
I ended up covering 48 miles in 48 hours.
That's 77 kilometres for my friends who measure in metric. And 28 of those miles were in the same day, which means I technically did an ultramarathon.
I walked more of those miles than I would've liked.
It was the only option once my knees started to hurt and my calves started seizing up. But dropping the self-judgement around more walking allowed me to stay on the field and exceed my goal. I went much further than I ever believed I could when in pain.
How did I manage to exceed my goal by 20% while pushing through agony?
1. Enjoy the Suffering
When I was limping along at the peak of the pain, Josh, one of the event organizers drove by.
"Are you enjoying the suffering?"
His question was a total pattern interrupt. Enjoying the suffering?!? I was just trying to push through it.
And like powerful coaching, it being framed as a question allowed me to fully consider it.
Am I enjoying it?
Should I be?
When I committed to run further than I ever had in my life, did I not anticipate that I'd encounter pain? It's an expected part of the experience, no? In which case, I should embrace it.
My thinking that there shouldn't be any pain was creating the suffering.
It's rare to achieve any noteworthy goal without some pain. And trying to avoid pain at all costs stops so many awesome people from ever getting started. It also leads to plenty of others giving up early.
"Don't cry to give up, cry to keep going." - Eric Thomas.
As I began contemplating that quote and embracing the pain, I was no longer suffering. It was normal and it was expected.
I was enjoying the ride.
2. Balance the Pain
Between laps, I asked one of the more experienced runners in our group, Mike, for advice. He suggested that my sore calf was likely due to me overcompensating to one side while going uphill. With that new insight, I was able to intentionally focus on putting extra weight on the other leg.
By the time I was done the next 4 mile stint, the pain from my left leg had subsided and my right leg hurt instead.
This felt like a win. For the next few laps, I alternated my focus and transferred the pain between legs each round. By the last 8 miles, I successfully managed to balance the emphasis between each leg so neither of them hurt badly. Instead, I had mild + manageable pain in both legs.
How much more could you do if you balanced the load?
3. Choose Your Peers Wisely
We ended up clocking 668 miles (1075 kilometres) as a group. That's 40% more than our original goal and to put that into context, it's further than the distance between Paris and Berlin. Everyone exceeded the personal goal they had set out for themselves.
The crew was competitive but highly supportive.
I can attribute many of my miles to the encouragement of the group and a bunch more to the inspiration I got from seeing their determination. Blisters, puking, and upset bowels didn't stop them. Zig Ziglar was right, you really are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
4. Make It a Game
The run was broken up into four mile "yards". It was two miles out and two miles back. That meant there was a midway point to celebrate.
Celebrating the midway point marker
and 30 miles done.
Before each lap, you picked up four small stones that represented the four miles you were about to run.
I played with the rocks in my pocket as I moved, telling myself that I was earning each one as I kept putting one foot in front of the other. It was super satisfying to put the rocks into your team's "completed" bucket when you got back.
All of these elements added a gamification to the run.
"What gets measured gets done" and you'll go a lot further when you're having fun.
BTW - One of my mentors, Giovanni Marsico, has produced a kickass movie called Hero. It's based on idea that inside every one of us lies a hero waiting to be unleashed. I was lucky enough to be at its premiere in September and the inspiring film got a well-deserved standing ovation. You can watch the movie for free for the next six days here.
P.S. Check this spot next week as I'm going to have a special invitation for you.
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