What is your suffer quotient? I was told 90% of the Sahara race would be a mental challenge. I can confirm that and then some. What would you be willing to do finish a 250km march through the desert (soft, hard packed, uphill/downhill and rocky sand) while wind hammers into your face? What are you willing to do, to achieve your own personal objectives? Would you run/walk from morning till night and get up the next day and do it all again…for a week. I had the opportunity to witness acts of relentless pursuit, digging deep, injuries, infections, mineral imbalance and watch people get up off the mat over and over again, in order to obtain something they clearly had COMMITTED everything too. I am humbled by the effort I saw and offer my greatest appreciation for what they accomplished. Nausea, deep discomfort, harsh back pain, bowel pain affecting athletic rhythm, extreme stiffness and deep muscle soreness, loss of weight, eating little, some throwing up and few that lost so much fluid, they were on IV drips. All the fun effects of a nonstop desert run. Did I know some of these were coming and was I ready? I “think so”. I only got a portion of these symptoms, some got them all!. These people marched on, no matter the obstacle, were on the start line, and came through the finish line, everyday. It was amazing to watch! Since finishing the race, I have spent much time thinking about my suffer quotient. Do you know what your “suffer” quotient is in life? Job, sport, activity. How much are you willing to put up with, dig deep for, work through the minute details, in order to achieve the objective? I was able to see it demonstrated in action this week, by superior athletes, great leaders, amazing team mates and complete strangers. I saw people who could see through the short term pain for the long term goal. Those that saw the finish line through the nausea, leg/back pain, badly blisters toes, infections, lack of sleep and endless physical challenges. How do they do it? Through experience, vision, belief, absolute focus. They had seen it modelled before by others, had done it before in other aspects of life and would model it for me now in front of my eyes. I did not finish the Sahara, and firmly believe I now understand what it takes to complete. In addition, I was able to see how quickly the body can heal itself on the other side, just like veterans said it would happen. This event was a huge learning experience for me to take back to other parts of my life and as a training ground for the next time I find one of these monumental adventures in front of me. As I close out this chapter of Sahara 2011, I start to ponder if I will be doing one of these events anytime soon. I definitely need some time to digest everything I experienced and reconcile the details. There are other areas of life that I want to focus on for the rest of the year, that should gain from what I learned on this trip. However, I am always up for another adventure and my gut tells me…I probably will. Goodbye to the desert life and back to what should be a lovely fall in Toronto.
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