With the warm sun coming down on my face, I sat in the grass, tired and shivering as I watched runner after runner cross the finish line. Many of these athletes raised their hands in victory, while some doubled over, bursting into tears. Some had loved ones rush up to support them. More than once, I heard an unbelievably excited “Mommy!” or “Daddy!” then watched a small child come running out to help their parent cross the finish line. Still, others finished in groups of two to four, supporting and congratulating each other.
I was waiting for my wife, Reka, to complete her first 50-mile trail run. We were well into our 11th hour of the race.
It was nothing short of extraordinary to watch these people cross the line. In full candor, I sat there, tears rolling down my face, as I watched numerous individuals achieve their own version of success. I was sitting at the finish line of the “Ice Age Classic” trail run and endurance event. Interestingly, the finish line was shared for both the 50-mile and 50-kilometer endurance races.
It struck me as fascinating (and I hate to admit it, a bit embarrassing), that what I had envisioned as an endurance athlete really had very little to do with many of the runners. The winners of the race fit the image of young and lean, but as the day wore on, it was wonderful to see all sorts of ages, shapes, and sizes, who had not only chosen to participate, but completed and thrived in the event.
As I sat there, shivering and watching the emotion at the finish line, I started thinking about how powerful it had been for Reka to set a goal of completing her first 50-mile race and for me to complete my first 50K. The hours of training, running/walking in the blowing snow or freezing in the dark, sometimes early in the morning, sometimes late at night…it hadn’t necessarily been easy, but it was worth it.
I thought about how the journey must’ve been for each of the participants. I can’t imagine this sort of thing being “easy” for anyone; however, watching the emotion at the end suggested it was definitely worth it. This awareness also opened my eyes to how we can do almost anything we set our minds to – that extraordinary really does live in the unreasonable. This isn’t to say that this sort of endurance event is for everyone. It isn’t. But I do believe there’s something out there that can be extraordinary for everyone, even if it is a bit unreasonable.
I had achieved my personal stretch goal of completing the 50K in under eight hours. I was pleased. Reka (aka “Trouble” and “Little Miss Badass”) came running in at 11 hours, 39 minutes. She had completed a her goal: a 50-mile trail run through the hilly, rocky landscape of southeast Wisconsin. I was so proud to see her cross the finish line.
I would challenge you to consider your dreams – whether in business or in life. Be unreasonable, define it, and dig in to achieve it. I promise it’s worth it in the end.
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