When I was facing a huge life decision, my mom encouraged me to choose my destiny over my fate. I really didn’t know what she was talking about and when I looked the words up in the dictionary they were basically synonymous. More research revealed that the differences are subtle, but huge.
Here’s what I learned. Fate is what happens to you. It’s the cards you are dealt and the path that circumstances, family expectations and peer pressure send you on. Fate is the route that is well traveled, grooved and most of all—seems safest.
But the reality is that the safe path is the most dangerous of all, because it can keep you from living your life to its fullest and happiest potential. Making difficult decisions and choosing the difficult path always entails risk, hard work, embarrassment and pain. Living life to its fullest and becoming who we are meant to be is never the easy way. Our destiny lies on the other side of these challenges. Listen to your gut and your heart when facing the big decisions, and choose your destiny.
My mom knows something about this. In her 70s she decided to get her PhD in Jungian Psychology in Zurich—a multi-year process that entailed massive logistical hurdles and big family sacrifices, plus not being deterred by some serious medical detours. She was brave and courageous, and had a strong resolve. It was her destiny, and she is an inspiration to me.
Every ultrarunner chooses their destiny when they decide to do an ultra, especially their first one, which is always a new, scary— and long and arduous—path. But not only does ultrarunning transform them physically, it also generates inner strength and confidence to take on more challenges, and make more of the big decisions in other aspects of life.
We see many examples in this issue— none more inspiring than the story of Bill Clements, who at age 30 set his life on a new path by discarding his fate and taking up ultrarunning. Several of the race reports this month take us to many stories of truly epic human achievement by courageous ultrarunners. In the crucible of ultramarathons they overcome challenges with positive attitudes and sheer will. But even if an ultra does not work out and a DNF is your result, the act of daring to toe the line and give it your best is transformational. Ultrarunning is so much more than just a sport.
In this issue we have plenty of expert advice to help you prepare for and execute on your upcoming ultras. And don’t miss the comprehensive review of hydration systems on page 20, where you can learn everything you need to know about how to best carry what you need for a short fast run, a multi-day fast packing adventure, and everything in between.
May your every run be a great one!