Remembering the “Why?” by Adam Kimble

As someone who goes on a lot of long runs all over the world, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on where life has taken me (usually whilst running in remote mountains or deserts). Since the start of this pandemic, I’ve taken the time to reflect on the sport of ultrarunning and all it has given to me since I ran my first 50k in 2014. Specifically, I have focused on my “why?” and what it is that fuels my passion for ultrarunning. I always tell the athletes I coach that it’s important to understand your “why?” whenever you run a race, because when the going gets tough, you have to know what you can rely on to keep you motivated and prevent you from giving up on your goals. So, without races to give us that opportunity to test our “why?”, I think it’s a good time to dive into that and understand how we can best stay motivated and fit during a time like this.

For me, there are a lot of reasons why I love this sport so much and have developed my life around it as a professional ultrarunner, motivational speaker, race director and running coach. It starts with how it has changed me as a human being. Running ultramarathons has helped me to understand who I really am as a person: how I deal with pain, suffering, and obstacles that are in the way of my goals. It has taught me the importance of pushing past my mental and physical limitations, realizing that anything is possible when you believe in yourself and work as hard as you possibly can. It has taught me the importance of fueling properly and giving my body the nutrition and hydration it needs, both during a race and in everyday life. Perhaps most importantly, however, it has brought me the support of the incredible ultrarunning community and more lifelong friends than I can even begin to count.

Running also serves as a tool to help me sort out emotions and work through the questions in life. It’s a place to find solace in nature amidst the craziness of the world. It’s a way to channel and fuel my competitive fire. And so much more! These are just the first things that come to mind about why I love this sport so much. So, as I spend more time reflecting on my “why?” during this strange season of life, I am not discouraged by all of the canceled races and the inability to gather with our favorite people on a more regular basis. That’s just temporary. Instead, I am uplifted and filled with gratitude for all of the guidance and purpose that running adds to my life.

As life continues without races on the immediate horizon, I encourage you to dig deeper into your “why?”. Sure, you’re disappointed that most or all of your races have been canceled. That’s human nature, and it certainly is a bummer for those of us that really love pinning on a bib. But I would venture to guess that virtually no one got into running purely because of a desire to race. It may have motivated you along the way, but it wasn’t the initial “why?”, was it? There’s something more to it. If you don’t already know why you love to run, take the time now to reevaluate that and remind yourself of what it means to you. That reflection may be just what you need to stay on top of your fitness and your goals, even when they might seem cloudier than ever before. The literal finish line may not be here for a while, but it will return in due time. Until then, do yourself a favor: dig into those motivations and rediscover your love for this wonderful sport!

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Adam is also a Big Blue Adventure Ambassador.