“Kungfu is not about having fun, it is about working hard.” I often tell this to my younger students when I feel they need to remember the true nature of what they are doing.
5 hours into our race, after being rained on the whole morning and climbing up the highest peak in Georgia for the 2nd time, I found myself thinking about these words.
It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t easy. In fact, of the three 50k races I’ve participated in, it was the hardest. It rained 70% of the time and somehow was also uphill for that long as well. The trail followed forest paths in the mountains and due to the rain, was a muddy, slippery, rocky, leafy mess. There were not many aid stations, no restrooms at any of them and we weren’t encouraged to rest, in fact, we had no time to rest. No time to relax. No time to enjoy any part of it. No time to take pictures, although I stubbornly took a small moment for a few. The incredible views we were hoping for were covered in clouds and mist up until the finish.
But we finished. We almost didn’t because we missed 2 cutoff times by just a few minutes but by the blessings of those that gave us the chance, bodies aching and running on pure determination, we finished 10 mins before the final cutoff. We finished.
And that’s what it is about. We don’t do it for the fun of it, we do it for the challenge. We do it to see if we can and how well we can. It may not be the Chinese Martial Arts but it is certainly one form of kungfu.
Although difficult, one thing I appreciate about these experiences, whether it be practicing the Chinese Martial Arts or some other intense physical/emotional challenge, is the insight I get about my own character. I never fail to see something new.
3 introspective takeaways that stood out to me this race:
- How hopeful and willful I am – I was determined that we were going to finish and even in moments where I wasn’t sure if we would be pulled, I almost always remained hopeful and held faith in us. I knew we were going to finish. This is what drove me. I don’t think I ever realized this about my spirit but thinking about it now, this is also how i am with my business.
- The power of hope – One specific moment when we weren’t sure we were going to make it but someone gave us a morsel of hope, there was a surge of energy that moved me faster than i had the whole time that far and we were already 21 miles in. On the other hand, there was a moment later, at about 28 miles, when I was sure we were not going to make the cutoff and as soon as I thought this, I felt my whole body go heavy and my will shriveling. Despite this, I still pushed, because even though I was sure we missed the time, there was always a tiny flame of hope. Plus, we were in the middle of the woods so I had to keep going 😂 The mind is truly powerful.
- Despite it being the hardest of all my races, my body handled it the best it ever has. Even though I rarely feel like I’m good enough, my body is stronger than I give it credit for and I am continually grateful that it is well enough that I have the chance to undertake such challenges.
The anticipation of these races can be intimidating because I know I am not a strong runner, I know it is going to hurt, and I know it is going to be long. But experiences like these are one of the things that i live for and i am both fortunate and thankful for my good friend that brings me along on these adventures with her, thankful that that her and i make an awesome team, and also for my kungfu spirit that gets me through these challenges 💓