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  • Dr. Russ Reinbolt

Life Lessons from Ultramarathons


Check out what I see as similarities between real life and ultramarathons:


1. They both suck a lot sometimes.

2. When times are tough, one has no choice but to put his head down and just keep moving forward.

3. In both, to achieve success, sacrifices must be made over and over again.

4. All aspects of one’s self must be solid. Any weakness will be exposed and exploited. If not addressed, there will be costs that will eventually need to be paid.

5. To be successful, a non-runner must break one’s life into manageable segments and an runner must break long races into manageable segments. One can’t focus on retirement/completion of a big project/the finish line or that person will be overwhelmed. A successful ultrarunner focuses on the segment at hand and tries to complete that section. The same exactly applies in life. I break race segments into smaller and smaller pieces, all the way down to brief moments. The more “winning” moments…the more success.

6. The importance of patience and persistence cannot be overemphasized. Application of these simple but difficult virtues will allow one to destroy pretty much any obstacle or accomplish any goal.

7. Periods of bliss occur in life and ultras. They balance out the bad times and the hardship. Enjoy these well-deserved good times.

8. Going through the journey of both, an individual learns his/her strengths and weaknesses.

9. One must work to strengthen his weaknesses and lean on his strengths. Eventually, the weaknesses can even be turned into strengths!

10. It’s certainly okay to make a mistake. But it’s not okay to make the same mistake twice. One must learn from mistakes as they provide a perfect opportunity for growth.

11. Doing “the right thing” almost always keeps one out of trouble. Simply by proper example, one can be a great role model to others.

12. Not accomplishing one’s goal does not equal failure. Giving up on pursuing it is.

13. For me, the mind 100% controls the body. Also, the mind controls the mind—which is one’s greatest asset and friend. But…one’s greatest enemy/limiter is…also the MIND. The good news? We have complete control of it.

14. In life and in ultras, one’s choices determine the path. Once the choice is made to do something, one then develops a plan. The final step is execution of that very plan. With unrelenting hard work, discipline and sacrifice, the goal WILL be reached.

15. Finally, THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS.

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