In my post Reflections of a 100 miler… I mentioned the great quote my mom sent to me to motivate me for the 100 mile race, and how to her, it was a great reflection of the type of person I am…someone who strives to accomplish things when told it is too hard or not possible. My mom was, as always, spot on about her daughter, and her timing was impeccable. With her quote in my head and as I continue to plan out my upcoming race season (2016-2017), I have been thinking about dreams and how often the word “impossible” is used when discussing dreams of larger magnitudes. After the Umstead100 many people congratulated me with exclamations of how crazy and impossible it seems to run 100 miles, not to mention how doing anything for almost 20 hours (or MORE) is unreal.
The Impossible? Why do people categorize things as impossible? What is it about ourselves that so quickly turn to limitations? Why, when others have clearly accomplished the same goal, are people so mystified by “ultra” life? And what does impossible really mean? In asking myself those questions, I found some quotes that inspire me to constantly reach for more.
The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible. – Arthur C. Clarke
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I’m possible.” – Audrey Hepburn
The mind is everything. What you think, you become. – Buddha
If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail about everyone else’s success. – James Cameron
I admit I was never a long-distance runner (or swimmer or cyclist) growing up, or even through the University, so I can partially understand why my endurance adventures seem so strange, yet fascinating, to friends, family and strangers alike. Add on to the fact the majority of people I know rarely even think of running a 5k much less a marathon, Ironman, or more, so I recognize not everyone understands my desire and drive to go further and longer in my running distances. That being said, I do not fully comprehend why, when discussing these “ultra” goals (TransRockies 2017, Western States 100, Leadville 100) must we speak about impossibilities or limits. I’ve heard wonderful compliments like “you are a beast, but I could never do that,” or “wow, you are a machine, but that would be impossible for me.”
Self-Limiting? I recognize my dreams and goals are not everyone’s, but why should we be afraid to push ourselves (mind, body, soul, heart) to the limit? Why should we be afraid to test ourselves and set goals, and to steal from Don Quixote, “Dream the Impossible Dream?” Why are we more apt to saw we cannot do something than we can or that we want to try?
The answer is we should not, and should ALWAYS reach higher and try. For me, it comes to a simple thought – I dislike limitations (from others and from myself), and want to not only seek to overcome my physical, mental, and emotional limitations, but to encourage others to do the same. Whether you are discussing work, life, sports, hobbies, and passions, we should push through and past the negative thoughts that say we cannot, and instead focus on setting goals and trying. We may fail, we may succeed, but we would ensure failure by never reaching higher. So I plan to dream ALL of the impossible dreams I can, and do everything possible to hit my marks. And who better than to inspire than Mother Teresa who said “Yesterday is Gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us Begin.”