Below are some of my favorite lessons that I’ve learned while competing in various races over the past 5 years that I feel translate well to everyday life.
1. Feed the beast. People that know me know I love this phrase. Within most of us is a desire to compete and an energy that should be directed toward fulfilling a goal. I began competing in serious races in 2011 after not competing in anything for nearly 15 years. After my first race it was like a switch had been flipped and I’d been reborn. That single race helped put me on a path to enormous progress both personally and professionally.
2. Adversity will come, deal with it. Life, much like a competition can throw you curveballs. I did a race years ago that required me to be in 32 degree water for nearly 5 minutes while a snow maker blew snow in my face. I had never been cold like that, it made my brain seem to stop working. It briefly made me almost want to quit before thinking “this will pass, I can get through it.” Whenever things are thrown at me unexpectedly I think back to times like that and it relaxes me because I know I can deal with anything.
3. Stay humble. A couple years ago after a break from competing I entered my first race in Colorado, a local 5K. I went in confident with a lot of serious races under my belt but the combination of hills, altitude, a sprained ankle and getting passed by 12 year olds quickly reminded me to stay humble and not look past anything.
4. Enjoy the process. I’ve done difficult races that have pushed my limits. Even if/when I’m struggling, I always try to enjoy what I’m going through. As a result, I’ve come to believe that the times we cherish most are not when things are easy but when we are battling to find our way or reach a goal.
5. Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Last year I ran World’s Toughest Mudder, a 24 hour obstacle course race. At 4:30 in the morning I was in my 18th hour of competing, on no sleep and continuing to battle the affects of hypothermia. As I went out for another lap I ran past a someone enduring all the same conditions as me but running on a prosthetic leg. That reminded me never to feel sorry for myself because someone will always have it tougher.
6. Your mind is powerful. We all give the body great credit for how strong it can be but the mind is far more powerful. I’ve run races where I’ve told myself how great I feel and sure enough I run fast. In rare instances I’ve been hard on myself during a race and inevitably it slows me down. Wherever your mind goes your body will follow so make sure it’s some place great.
7. Make it fun. Last weekend my two sons asked to run a 5K race at ages 5 and 8 respectively. I expected them to walk most of the way due to inexperience and age. Instead, they both ran the entire way and fast. I believe that was because to them it was just fun, there was no pressure or worry. I think that is a good lesson for all of us to not make everything so serious.
8. Find an excuse…to keep going. I have run races where I’ve felt amazing and others where I felt like I was pulling a train. The days when you don’t have “it” are a struggle and will be the times you badly want to quit. Instead of giving up, find an excuse to keep going –any reason at all. You will be amazed at what kind of personal growth that brings you.
9. Live in the present. I ran a race earlier this year that was supposed to be 31 miles. On mile 29 I was informed that due to a mistake the race would instead be 35 miles. I was on fumes at that point but stayed in the present and didn’t let it bother me. Remaining in the presents helps you maintain focus on your goals and avoid becoming overwhelmed.
Dr. Kenney has won multiple awards for “Best Chiropractor” and specializes in motivating and helping patients achieve their goals of better health and pain relief. For more information please visit www.NewBodyChiro.com, find us on Facebook (New Body Chiropractic & Wellness Center) or call (303) 347-9906.