How to win despite having no time or resources
We recently enjoyed a New York Times article about Katie Arnold, winner of the 2018 Leadville 100, a notoriously difficult ultra-marathon. Held annually in Leadville, Colorado, the race covers difficult terrain and elevation changes and must be completed within a 30 hour time limit; most do not finish. What is interesting about Katie is that on the surface, it was unlikely she would even complete, much less win the race. From the article:
¨Frankly, the entire endeavor seemed improbable, delusional even. I had two young daughters at home, a book to finish writing, and a metal plate the size of a spatula in my knee from breaking my leg two years earlier in a white water rafting accident. Before operating, the orthopedist had looked me up and down through disdainful eyes and said, ‘If I were you, I’d never run again.’ Did I mention I was in my mid-40s?¨
Most people who train for Leadville have a coach, a highly structured training program, and fancy fitness tracking gear. Most also have the one thing Katie did not have — ample time for training and recovery. So, without a coach to guide her, she took what most would consider to be her limitation — her life — and made it her weapon. From Katie:
¨The most important metric in training for a hundred-mile race isn’t pace or mileage but time on your feet. Unless you’re superhuman, at some point over the course of 20 or 30 hours, your body will feel as if it’s been run over by a train, your stomach will rebel, your brain will go fuzzy, and you will hate yourself and possibly everyone around you for indulging you in this absurd undertaking. You don’t necessarily have to train long for this, just smart. This is true for nearly any endurance event, whether it’s a 5K or 100 miles or everyday life. You have to be creative. You have to steal time from the edges of your day, teach yourself to eat on the fly, learn to function on suboptimal sleep, and keep going even when you want to lie down and cry. In other words, just like parenthood.¨
So, Katie wove training into her everyday life, running to and from her kids’ lacrosse games, riding her bike to the grocery store, and going for a run after eating pizza with her kids. As she noted, “My secret to endurance was no secret at all, but a basic, if underrated, human impulse: staying in motion.“ As it turns out, that approach was the perfect training. As Katie reflected on what led to her victory at Leadville, she said that “for nearly 20 hours, I’d done what I’d taught myself to do: Put one foot in front of the other, over and over and over again. It was so ordinary, it was extraordinary.“
For Chenmark, this sentiment relates well to our team of small businesses. We operate in a world where nobody has enough time, resources, or bandwidth to get done what they want to get done. But, like Katie, we stay in motion, get creative, and work with what we have. We believe that by doing so, we can get the job done anyways and can create extraordinary results in the process.