LIFE LESSON: PATIENCE & PROCESS - ULTRA-TRAIL DU MONT BLANC

© Trail Runner

©Trail Runner

Before arriving in Chamonix, I was digesting the words that my father had shared with me last year about making decisions and pursuing them, which can be broken down into five steps: 

  1. Make a decision

  2. Commit to your decision

  3. Put all your efforts towards your decision

  4. Have faith in your decision

  5. Learn from your decision, no matter if the outcome was good or bad

So, when I had decided to run Ultra-Trail Du Mont Blanc for a second time (Race Report: Ultra-Trail Du Mont Blanc 2018), I committed to the five steps and continued my journey to complete the course this year. Unfortunately, things turned out to be different than planned and for a second consecutive year I had to drop out of the UTMB (Race Report: Ultra-Trail Du Mont Blanc 2019). Another missed chance and shattered dream is heartbreaking. I was progressing through the mountains, but after more than 150 kilometers, my race was once again stopped by hallucinations. 

My body and mind took a beating, but what else can I do besides get up and try again. It is what it is. Things are what they are and all I can do is pick up another set of learnings and move on. Sport, in particular running, has a purpose that is greater than myself and my second DNF (“Did Not Finish”) at this year’s UTMB is a welcome reminder that there is more than finish lines and medals. Even though it sucks to work so hard and feel like you have failed to achieve your goal, these experiences shape your life and make you grow.

I have started to reflect about my last year of training and I have gathered my thoughts about this year’s UTMB. Surprisingly enough, the feeling of failure and negative thoughts about being unable to complete the course have not lasted too long. Instead, I tell myself to be proud of the achievement and continue to appreciate the journey. I know that for me there is more than running. I work long hours in my office job as well as I enjoy spending time developing and nurturing new business ideas. I like travelling and I love hanging out with friends and family. It is about aligning my ambitions and goals with one another, i.e. finding the right balance, while being present and enjoying the journey.

In line with the appreciation of the journey, my mother shared with me the words of New York Times Best Selling Author R. M. Drake: “And it might take years but the best thing about patience is, you always get what you need. You always get what you ask for and in the end, you always get what you deserve.” Drake’s words underline the importance that process takes time and being patient is just as important as being reflective of each stage along the way. 

When you do not focus too much on the end goal, instead go out and acknowledge every run or session in the gym, then it becomes more about the process, and not all about the end result. Whether on race day, exam day, pitch day, or any kind of important day, a myriad of things could happen that are out of our control. But, if you have enjoyed the process, it will matter less if something does go wrong, which aligns perfectly with my five points of making a decision. If the outcome of your decision was not as desired, do not doubt yourself, but learn and continue.

Ultra-runner Tim Tollefson, who was also unable to finish the UTMB in the last two years, has brought it to the point in one of his UTMB posts: “‘What-If’ is the thief of progress. How we respond to an outcome - good or bad - will dictate what is achieved in the future. So reflect, learn, grow and move on after each experience. Do not dwell.” 

While UTMB 2018 taught me to make decisions (Life Lesson: Decision Making), UTMB 2019 made clear that life requires patience and an appreciation for the process. In addition to my few words of wisdom, I can recommend listening to the following podcasts that I have enjoyed on my way to Chamonix and give you a better understanding of building a mindset and appreciating the journey: 

Mark Gainey (Co-Founder Strava)

Monocle24 The Entrepreneurs Podcast (Click here)

Rich Roll Podcast (Click here)

Key message: 

Patience 
Persistence 
Perfection / Perspective 

Jan Frodeno (2x Ironman World Champion 2015 & 2016, 2x 70.3 World Champion 2015 & 2016, Triathlon Olympic Champion 2008) 

MoSports Podcast (Click here)

Key message: 

Ich will es (“I want it”)
Ich kann es (“I can do it”)
Ich schaffe es (“I will achieve it”)