For some people Fall is enjoying Pumpkin Spice Lattes, donning comfy sweaters, and taking trips to the apple orchard. But for me, Fall is all about running. The cooler air and turning leaves create the perfect conditions to pound the pavement. I knew this Fall running season would be different as a recent cross-country move eliminated any established running buddies and left me unfamiliar with local races. I would have to think outside the box to set, and achieve, my annual Fall running goals.
My personality tends to gravitate the new, unknown adventure lurking around the corner but I was having trouble even finding a corner (or endurance event) that I hadn’t yet explored. I soon realized that the only event left was the big daddy- a 100-mile ultra marathon. The mere thought of it made me want to both laugh and vomit. But it wasn’t completely impossible and seemed to guarantee some sort of epic adventure, so that was good enough for me!
I began training after Labor Day, but didn’t have the time or desire to follow a traditional 12-16 week plan, so took what I considered to be the best parts of various plans and created a 7-week “Franken-plan”. I completed one back-to-back long run each week, starting at 18 miles both days and adding three miles each week until I worked my way up to 30 miles both days. Minus a few blisters, I thoroughly enjoyed my training period exploring new trails/roads in the area.
When it came time for the big day I dropped my youngest son off at school and hit the trails of the Sandhills. I was unsure of what the journey had in store for me, but was excited to find out! 23 hours and 26 minutes later I triumphantly ran back to my driveway and into the arms of my husband and pajama-clad sons.
After sharing my 100-mile journey with friends and family it seemed the consensus was:
- You’re crazy
- You’re the only person I know whom could/would do this
I can’t deny the first (and I’m kind of proud of that in a weird sort of way) but the second I do contest. I strongly believe that ANYONE can accomplish their goals- as long as they are utilizing their natural talents and refined Strengths to do so. These sentiments caused me to analyze my run through the lens of StrengthsFinder, Gallup’s assessment tool rooted in Positive Psychology. I have had the pleasure of working with the assessment over the past four years (full time the past 18 months) and have seen that when leveraged, Strengths are nearly unstoppable! Leveraging your unique Strengths not only help you achieve your Big Hairy Audacious Goals, but they also help you live a more energized, effective, and efficient life!