Do something that challenges you – it’ll be worth it

Wow, what a weekend! As some of you know I am in Hawaii to volunteer for the Ultraman World Championships and I hope to inspire you a little with a few notes from this weekend. Even though I am not racing this year, I still really wanted to be here in some way and I am so glad I came. It is so absolutely inspiring to see old friends and new ones push themselves to their absolute limits and beyond – just like it is to watch clients and friends back home train so hard and challenge their limits.

Working at the 10 km swim I got to see some incredible courage, and amazing selfless support from the crews. Andre Kajlich did the entire race without legs – wow! It was humbling to see him come out of the water near my own personal record, but doing so with no legs to kick. Seeing athletes fly through the swim and athletes struggle through the swim. So inspiring!

Next they rode their bikes 145 kms, mostly up hill to a place called Volcanoes National Park. The next day, while it was raining like crazy, they rode 276 kms to Hawi over several mountains and some really challenging terrain, plus the aforementioned rain and high winds. I rode my bike out to cheer them on up the last big climb and I can tell you first hand it was a tough day in the wind.

Then on Sunday they ran 84.4 kms along the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway. No rain today, but heat and more wind. Once again I rode my bike and zipped back and forth between the leaders and the middle of the pack, riding to the finish line to see a few cross the line, then roaring back out to encourage more runners. One of my new friends (Tobias from Germany) started the day 55 minutes behind the race leader (Craig from Australia). So Toby had to outrun Craig by 55 minutes because everyone starts the double marathon together. Craig didn’t give in one little bit! Right to the end Craig ran harder than he had ever run in his life and it came down to missing first place by just over five minutes on a 23.5 hours race taking three days. Tobias did it – he won! It would have been so easy to look at a 54 minute deficit and just not try, but he didn’t do that and now he is the world champion.

As the saying goes, “I am not saying it will be easy – I am saying it will be worth it.” (Art Williams)

Many people think we ultramen and women are nuts and that’s cool, it’s sort of a compliment. You don’t have to go out and do such an outrageous thing, but I do hope that you do go out and do something that challenges you. Run a 5 km, 10 km, marathon or something. Take up dance lessons. Climb a mountain. Drop 20 lbs of unhealthy fat. Enter a Spartan Race. Learn a new language. Something, anything.

We only get one shot at this life of ours and I hope that you will make the best of it. I am here to tell you that being fit is so much fun. Today I road my bike around for more than 100 kms in the hot sun cheering people on, because I can, because all of my hard work allows me to have a body that can play. I wish that for you. I really do. I wish you a healthy, happy, fun and wonderful body that you can enjoy in whatever way you choose, because I used to be fat and unhealthy and I am here to tell you – it’s worth it!

Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake.