I’m a runner and I even race, occasionally. Like many of us, I started out with little 5k fun runs and progressed to ultramarathon class. (To some ultra runners, my ultras would still be twice-round-the-block fun runs.)
As a runner and observer of runners, I’ve noticed a general trend: Youthful runners right out of high school or college are speedy; people my age, not so much (Yes! there are exceptions). But I also came to notice in reading through finish-line stats that the 5k youthful advantage disappears as the distances grow. Once you’re over marathon distance, it seems that many if not most finishers are 40 or older, some much older.
I think about my own experience and I think I understand. When I was 18 and started to run more seriously, I didn’t know anyone who did marathon distances and if I could run a whole 5 miles, I was head-and-shoulders above the crowd. If I could finish first in my gym class 3 laps around the field, I was likewise a champion. But I would sometimes quit on the big attempts to push myself beyond 10 miles. At 9 miles in, I had already accomplished something great and my legs felt exhausted. Wasn’t I at about the limit of what I could possibly do?
And that’s where the change occurred over the next 20 years. The limit of what I could possibly do kept growing with experience. 10 miles hadn’t really been my limit when I was 18 – I just didn’t know what I was capable of. In recent years, on my tough runs, I’ve been able to look back to ultra-marathons and other grueling courses I’ve taken on and say, “It’s been worse before and I kept going.” I couldn’t have said that at 19.
This vital building of experience is one of those mental transformations that can’t really be rushed, or bought. It takes great time to build a runner’s physical muscles and much greater time to build mental muscle.
I’m mentioning all this today though to go in a completely different direction. So far, you’ve been fooled into one of my over-wrought analogies. As announced here on my site not too long ago, I founded an outdoors business in 2018 called WikiparX. I did so with very little in the way of resources, launching something unique but very unproven and investing everything I had into it. There have been high points and valleys along the short route so far and I’d honestly have to say that the last couple of months haven’t been among the mountaintops.
If I were 19, I would have quit already – I know this. I would have seen another glittering attraction in the distance, dropped the slow-to-mature initiative and chased after something more immediately gratifying. But now, at forty, I’ve been through a lot – I’ve learned a lot and seen a lot. I, like everyone else, have been through some hardship and survived. I have a good idea what’s worth holding on for till the finish. I can say that I’ve been through worse.
I’ve been told that E-commerce belongs to the 20-year-olds, the mentally agile and speedy. This is the conventional wisdom. But I’ve noticed how many initiatives fall apart in development or in the first years of operation. Speed is great but my view still derives from the long trail.
And it’s not even a claim that I’m unnaturally tough or tenacious. I’m just not what I was at the age of 19, when I thought I knew what it was to be tough and tenacious.
With all that being said, I’m looking forward to a 2019 of pushing WikiparX forward. It remains the best idea in terms of business viability and personal fulfillment that I’ve ever had. There are great things to come even if the finish line remains somewhere far over the horizon.
Thanks for staying abreast of the development of Wikiparx.com – there’s a great new site coming for 2019!
Here’s our little landowner sign-up site:
(Several of the above photos are from my first Wikipark.)