In 2012, I learned how not to run 100 miles.
I learned how to drive myself into the ground.
I knew the science.
My ego new better – so it seemed.
I had to be the best.
To me, being the best meant something specific.
The best was not the fastest.
It had to do with distance –
I wanted to run the farthest – farther than most would see as reasonable.
I wanted to do something exceptional.
The health behind such a pursuit was
In the not accepting conventional boundaries, limitations, or lack of imagination
That we (I) could do or be more.
Health was found in the commitment to the process – multiple years
Dedicated to training – the joys of the experience along the way,
The possibilities of what could happen –
The joy of accomplishing 100 miles in a single go –
A feat not many conceive or dare to dream.
I was looking to connect and push my body beyond conventional limits,
Connect and discover who I was, and
Connect with others that longed for the experience running and ultras possess.
There as a generative nature to it all.
The healthy attributes were also accompanied by unhealthy attributes –
Ultimately leading to the demise of the process.
My ego wanted to keep pushing,
Assuming good things were only happening
When I was active and working.
The physiology depends on the rest and recovery to
Build back and stronger after workouts and long runs.
My ego led me to believe that if I wasn’t working,
It wasn’t going to happen.
If you replace ‘running’ with ‘work’ or ‘career,’
We quickly see the cross-over here.
I was also in a strong season of ‘proving’ myself,
‘Dedicating’ myself, and
‘Priding’ myself on my performance and work
I poured into my career.
I believed that the more hard work, time, and sacrifice
I poured into my career,
The more it would pay off.
Substitute ‘running’ or ‘training’
And we again see the overlap.
I was running to prove who I was by running these distances.
I wanted to prove who I was by my accomplishments – with work and running.
I was also driven to belong to a group.
As pack animals, we are naturally drawn to a sense of belonging.
And I was trying to earn my way into a particular group,
Conforming to certain ideals that were held as standards –
As to who is in
Who is out.
I was trying to gain favor by conforming.
I was trying to earn my way into an ‘elite’ club.
The long and short of it,
As it goes without saying –
Things didn’t work out for me.
I ran until I couldn’t run anymore.
I walked until I couldn’t walk anymore.
I did not finish the 100-mile adventure.
A quick look at all of the aforementioned
Allows one to easily deduce that
I had compromised the process.
In many ways.
It took my disregard of the process
To really realize that there was a process in the first place.
The process needs to be respected.
The process requires participation,
The process does not allow for
One to bend it at one’s will
For the sake of results.
The process is not driven by ego.
The process is all of it – not just the end-goal or finish line.
I was enamored with 100 miles – whatever was at the finish line.
I was driven by career success – whatever that means.
I wanted to belong to a group – regardless of what ‘membership’ compromised.
That hardcore failure of 2012 was one of the most valued moments in time.
It held with it endless lessons and discoveries of the Process that I am still unpacking today.
I learned much more regarding the mechanical and physiological demands training, recovery, and health demand in the ultra-marathon process.
I gained much freedom and joys in dedicating myself to the process of my work –
Not the outcomes –
Not the conventional ladder climb.
Freedom, balance, and joy found their way back into my work life.
(Much was also learned about tribal identity, group think, and belonging
Following change in 2018 –
The start of my business,
Speaking up for my well-being –
And more so at the outset of a global pandemic in 2020.
I was gaining deeper understanding that acceptance
Does not need to be earned nor
Need to compromise one’s self in the midst
Of a group’s dynamics.)
Much of this learning stemmed from a deep dive
To find out where these ideals and conventions even came from –
Why do we think success involves such sacrifice of self and family?
What is at the top of the ladder?
Why is there a ladder in the first place?
Why are we defined and valued by what we do?
By what we produce?
Why do we ask people their name and then their profession in the same breath?
As if what they do for a living ranks their value and the ensuing interaction –
Why is there such a need for some people to serve as gate-keepers
With their particular group or click?
Why do some feel better by excluding others?
Why do some groups exist to serve themselves?
Why do some groups exist solely as opposition to others?
In 2014, I was finding far more balance
Participating within the Process,
Not fighting to force results.
Balance and joy were found in my work.
I was over the notion of over-giving, sacrificing, and compromising my own self
For the sake of the company.
Training was ‘balanced’
(As much as dedication to ultra-marathon training can appear).
Recovery, training, hard-training, rest.
Joy and connection was found as I ran,
Hours at a time,
Throughout the beautiful trails
Woven through nature.
The whole training season –
About a year and a half –
Was such a gift.
And there was the bonus
Cherry on top.
An 8th place finish in
Just under 9 and a half hours,
Completing a wonderful 50-mile race.
So much more growth, learning, and joy
Has come out of 2012’s face-plant of a race –
Better approaches to
Inner work, and
One’s daily work,
Tribal identity –
For my patients and clients,
For my organizational development.
I can no longer treat health
As an isolated incident;
Independent of inner work, and belonging.
I can no longer treat management of workers, teams, and businesses
As if their physical self
And true-self identity
Do not matter,
And could serve to be sacrificed
For the sake of the group, company, or profit.
I have gained perspective.
Coupled with my gift to teach and share –
And you have the Process
A world of opportunity.
© Dr Adam Fujita