The Limberlost Challenge 2014

“Julian’s 56k trail ultra marathon win in Muskoka came as no surprise” says my girlfriend, as unbiased as possible. Unknowingly, on my 2nd lap, I had told her bluntly “I’m going to kill it, I’m going to win this (race)”. By the 4th lap, she said “I could just tell he was going for the win”.

The 56 kilometer race was comprised of 4 x 14 kilometer laps around the best that Muskoka had to offer in regards to terrain. Trails covered in hidden roots, scattered rocks, fallen trees, rickety bridges, mud-filled paths, deep puddles, urdle height boulders, boggy uphills, carpet-like mulch, and dodgy downhills.

I was in flow: my body yearned for water and electrolytes throughout; 2nd lap watermelon; 3rd lap stretch; 4th lap pineapple, so I gave it those. I listened, it responded.

I listened to music to keep me focused. I started off running against the other racers, duking it out for rank, but over time, the thrill of conquering the trails, the precision to pace, and the mindfulness/awareness for fuelling changed my reason for running. I ran for Time. No matter what came in my way, be it a fast competitor, a slow competitor, a river crossing, hidden rocks, a fall into a bush, a foot cramp, a stomach stitch, Sun fatigue, or dehydration, beating the clock kept me running. My yearning to beat my previous time was a stubbornness I never knew I had in me. My determination to endure discomfort for 5 hours and 52 minutes was a force to be reckoned with and a force to be afraid of.

I learned that being in the zone or in flow is a very powerful state of mind. It can show you your true potential; things you never thought possible.

I learned that the elements to achieve flow comprise of psychological and physiological awareness and balance.

I learned that we are more afraid of what we CAN DO than what we cannot do.

I’m afraid of what’s next …