What Marathon Are You Running?**

Tuesday, 19 March 2019, By By Miguel Ruiz

If you had told me two years ago that I would run a 50km ultra-marathon, I would of have laughed in disbelief. I was never much of a runner; I had only entered small events in the past and was more interested in lifting weights and socialising on the weekends. The thought of spending Sunday, my only day off to commute to the Blue Mountains for nine months straight in preparation for a single event wasn't easy to accept, nor did it go down well with my friends, family and my partner.

By understanding what my barriers were, the long hours at work, the time it would take to train, the countless visits to the Chiro for rehab or prehab as well as turning up to work tired and sore from training.
I still decided to go ahead and make it a priority.

Sounds crazy right? Many people asked me, "Why would you do this Mig?"
"Why commit to something that seems so unreachable, why not commit to something easier?"
"Why would you put your body through that?"
"Why are you doing this on your day off, don't you want to rest?"
I wanted to do something for myself that would challenge my own self-restrained beliefs. I wanted to achieve this almost impossible milestone. I wanted to be proud of myself. I wanted to face my barriers head on and prove to myself that with the right mindset anything is possible.

I had prepared for months, my nutrition was great. I had lost 2 kg of fat before the race to be as lean and as quick as possible. My Pack was as light as it could be including the mandatory gear and water required. There was nothing left to do but to run and at 7:30 am on Saturday 18th of May 2018 on a cold 16-degree morning in Katoomba, off I went into my first ever ultramarathon. Ahead of me was the fear of the unknown, I had to push it to the side and focus on the simple things, my breathing, my stride, my posture and my mental state which would be tested further than ever before, I didn't know it yet.

Everything was smooth sailing for the first 16km, I had just passed the second checkpoint and was feeling comfortable when all of a sudden, I suffered server cramps in both quadriceps sending me straight to the ground in agony. This wasn't part of the plan. I had no signs of fatigue, I was hydrated, and salt intake was good. I was puzzled but had no option but to continue. Between 16km and to the 28km checkpoint the cramps would continue every few minutes. I would have to stop due to the pain; I would stretch, take salt tables and would keep the track in what looked like a shuffle instead of a run.
The thought of quitting took over my head space as I crawled to the 28kmcheck point where I found my partner waiting for me. I was in pain, and I wanted to give up, I want to quit, it was too hard, the fear of being in pain for the remaining 22km ahead of me was inviting me to pull out.

A stranger who soon after became a friend put his arm around me and spoke into my ear, I will never forget the words he said to me.
"What you are looking for is not here, it's 22km in that direction, and you bet your bloody life I'm not going to let you sit here and pull out. So, lift your head and GO."
Sometimes, all we need is a coach, friend, mentor or complete stranger to pick us up and get us back on track. Much like the relationship Trainers have with clients.

The next 22km was the hardest physical test of my life; the cramps continued as I descended 800m before ascending another 800m to end up 1.2 km from the finish line at the bottom of the valley under Scenic World with 850 odd stairs to climb between me and the finish line.
Each step I took, I could feel my cramps coming back, my arms brazed from falling, my ego bruised and my spirit was feeling at an all-time low.

After 7 hours and 52 minutes of physical exertion, I finally crossed the finish line. My goal was to finish in 6 hours. Feeling completely broken, I took the next few steps and was overwhelmed with emotions. I couldn't believe it; I remember thinking, I have finally done it, all those hours spent in training, all the sacrifices I made were worth it.

When I reflect on my journey, I can draw on a lot of parallels to the clients I see at Vision on weight loss or muscle gain programs. There will be times when reaching your goals will be comfortable; there will be times when your results may plateau. There will be times when you want to quit.
It's up to you as individuals to ask yourself, what will define me? Am I going to stop because I didn't get the results I wanted or is it because it's hard? Life will continuously throw obstacles your way; work will always be busy and social events will never stop. It is up to you to take the next step in the right direction.

Reading this, if you feel this has happened to you during your time here, then I want you to think back to when you first started. Walking in the doors was the hardest thing; doing your food diary was the next hardest thing, then lunges became the hardest thing. Now for most of you, it's no longer the exercises which are hard but the constant decisions you make outside the studio.

So, if you agree that change is good and brings growth to enable you to be better yourself and others, then I challenge you. What's your next goal? What's going to push you outside your comfort zone to reach bigger goals. Are you going to be held back by fear like I was? Are you going to concur your fears and dictate how you want to live life? Free of limitations or are you going to stay safe and comfortable in no resultsville?

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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