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On July 27, I ran the White River 50 Mile Endurance Run on Crystal Mountain, which sits in the shadow of Mount Rainier. From 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., my team and I had 50 miles to cover. 

Why do we run races like this? I asked my fellow team members Molly Schumacher, Dave Lesniak, and Beau Minnick this very same question, and as you can see in the beginning of the video above, their answers varied, but they all boil down to this: We do it for growth. 

My friend Chris, who you can see at the 2:38 mark, broke his ankle three weeks before the race, but that didn’t stop him from running. A lot of people told him he shouldn’t run again so soon, but that’s the mindset of normal people. We can do anything we want, and he crossed the finish line with a fractured ankle. My wife had never done a trail run before, but two days before it was scheduled to begin, she decided to enter the race, and she crossed the finish line too. 

So many of us had to face challenges to run this race, but these are more mental barriers than anything. In a race like this, you get to this level where you feel pain and you push yourself until the pain can’t get any worse. Your body wants to break down and you want to quit, but this is an opportunity to test yourself and see what you’re made of. It’s a place very few will test themselves in order to reach. On the other side of this pain is absolute freedom. Absolute freedom means more power and more confidence. 

This race was 18,700 feet of ascent and descent. It was an absolute nightmare, but it was also glorious. What I envisioned beforehand was crossing the finish line with my team members and seeing us cry together and expand and grow. As a result of this challenge, we’d all get better. Our capacities would expand, and so would our confidence. Essentially, we’d get stronger. 

That’s what I love about these challenges, and that’s exactly what happened. Most people tiptoe through life just hoping to make it safely to death, but not us. We push ourselves and do things that are unreasonable because our capacity is unlimited. 

If you’d like to talk more about how to embrace and overcome challenges in life or you have any more questions for me, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to help you.