I can imagine many of us runners glued to our screens last Saturday waiting in anticipation as Eliud Kipchoge attempted to break the two hour marathon time. This has never been done in the history of mankind. Just to cite how amazing this feat is, it took sixteen years to move from a 2:06 world record to a 2:02 and given this trajectory, a sub-2 would only be possible by 2030. There are a lot of factors to consider including VO2Max levels or the capacity of our body to efficiently utilize oxygen, lactation threshold or how much the body can handle lactic acid build up and running efficiency or how one’s running form optimizes overall performance. The conditions have to be ideal- wind, elevation, temperature, etc. But I think more than anything, the runner has to be mentally ready and fully believe that indeed he is capable to even go for this moonshot.
Eluid may have finished it in 2 hours and 25 seconds, not breaking 2 hours but he opened up our minds to what is possible. His calm and collected demeanor through out the marathon spoke of how clarity of intent allows us to be in such a focused state. The dedication he put into training was a testament that anything worth doing entails sacrifice and commitment. He also taught a us how to be a soldier who followed through because he knew that it was what was needed to accomplish what he set out to do. His performance last Saturday strengthened the world’s resolve to continue asking “what if”, breathing renewed life to each and everyone’s imagination.
It also got us started to think about our own versions of the sub-2. What are the things that seemed insurmountable at the start that are now within striking distance? What was scary then that is not so now because of repeatedly considering or even doing? For me it’s the fear of failing and falling that actually get scarier because of overthinking. I see this in my running, yoga practice, parenting and at work. But I’d like to lean into this fear more. I try to be keen to the first physiological signs and the moment I feel my clammy hands I sum up the courage and pull myself up instead of cowering and feeling small. Not easy and not always done but I just keep trying. And when I do so, I leave with a sense of accomplishment for leaning in and just showing up.