Preparation to Suffer II

Published in Running - 2 mins to read

Tomorrow is race day - the start of my first ultramarathon is less than 12 hours away. Given I plan to spend 8 of them sleeping and 1.5 of them travelling, there isn’t time to do much more preparation. Fortunately, I think what I have done is pretty good; my bag is packed, my clothes are laid out, my pack is ready, I’ve already prepared breakfast and bought my train ticket. I’ve tried to make sure everything is in place to ensure tomorrow morning goes as smoothly as possible, so I can arrive at the start line with as little stress as possible. I even cleaned my flat to have a nicer environment to come back to once I’m done.

At this point, I’ve controlled for everything I reasonably can. The final preparation will occur on the train journey in the morning, when I will spend the time visualising what’s going to happen when things get tough, how I’m going to feel, what sort of thoughts are going to bubble up, and how I’m going to deal with them. Fortunately, as part of my preparation to suffer yesterday, I did have a bit of an epiphany on the subject of mental pain; I could actually really use a good suffer. My head is wrapped up in several different issues at the moment, all of which are causing me some significant amount of stress and anxiety, and all of which are complete bullshit. In the day-to-day of working city life, they take up my entire vision, but I know that once I start hurting tomorrow, my perspective will sharpen and I’ll be able to see once more how irrelevant all those things are. I’m in my usual cycle of constantly striving for things that I think will make me happy but won’t, but out on the trails it will be clear to me exactly what makes me happy; being out in nature, moving my body, and being able to spend quality time with the people I love.

As another part of my preparation this evening, I watched the Project 1:59 documentary Kipchoge, The Last Milestone. It brought back so many feelings that I felt that day, and left me with a renewed sense of confidence - there is no doubt in my mind that I will finish the race tomorrow, even if I have to crawl to the finish line. Like Eliud says, no human is limited - it’s all in my mind.

See other posts in the Marathons series