They call the race the Moab 240, not the Moab 235. Honestly, I had done exactly what I wanted out of myself: push myself to my absolute limit. During the Moab 240, my mindset and my why received an unfathomable trial by fire. The Moab 240 is a 238-mile foot race through Moab that changes almost 58,000 ft in elevation. Participants are faced with extreme weather fluctuations, sleep deprivation, technical terrain, and high altitude over the course of 4 days.
I Failed At My Dream Goal
To summarize, I injured my hip badly in the last stretch of the race where I was already fighting against the last cutoff. Ultimately, I fell short and safety was paramount in the moment. My hallucinations became so incredibly terrible that I heard audibles and saw everything ranging from christmas trees to talking campers. I couldn’t run for at least the next 5 weeks. I failed at my big dream goal.
That being said, I’m not here to talk about my 235-mile failure. I’m here to tell you about the trials I faced in my mind the month after the race. Determining my hip had not suffered major structural damage was only a baby step. Over the course of the month after the race, I created so many “what-if” scenarios I could have written a book! Now, I’ll tell you how what I learned.
You are Not your Results
You are bigger than your results. Of course, I’m not saying you shouldn’t feel. In fact, the most important thing to do is to feel strongly. Feel bad over the failure for a few days. However, don’t stop there. Doing anything at a high level requires a growth mindset, accountability, and the willingless to be honest with yourself. For example, I dove right into the physical of what went wrong in my race report.
On the mental side, I called myself out for blaming anything other than myself. Remember, you can’t control factors like weather, distance, injury, and pain. Injury and pain can be evaluated, but I’m pretty sure none of us are able to shoot lightning bolts or part the seas. What you can control is your attitude.
Do What Makes You Happy, Not What Others Expect From You
Personally, I love going long distances. 100 miles and more. I love multi-day journeys. All that said, I learned quickly in the aftermath that I wasn’t chasing the next longest and hardest thing just to challenge myself, but because I felt that it was expected of me.
Put aside your ego. Compare you to you. Think about why you want to do something. The triple crown of 200-milers is no joke. Honesty to myself was that while I am excited to take on the challenge, I know I need more mental and physical preparation to be ready for it, as well as a break from the longer distances. So, I deferred the triple crown races to 2024. That entire time, my ego cried to me to “get after it because you have to prove you can finish this distance.” Prove what to who?
Everyone wants to be remembered for being something, but that something starts from within. The person whose opinion matters the most is your own. Do goals that set your soul on fire while instilling nerves and excitement. A long career in endurance sports or anything is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
Be Kind to Yourself
Celebrate the small wins. Pat yourself on the back. If you can’t be kind to yourself, it’ll trickle into every other aspect of your life. You can be kind to yourself and disciplined. The two are not opposites, they’re complimentary. That is the biggest lesson I learned during the month I was not running. When you are kind to yourself, it doesn’t matter what others think because you’ll always see the glass as half full. The problem is the opportunity. The obstacle is the path.
So I failed at my dream goal. So what? Moab did not erase all the hard work I did. Use your failure. Life is so much bigger than outcomes and the work starts within.