The Badwater 135 ultramarathon is billed as the toughest footrace in the world. It goes from Death Valley, Nevada, to Mt. Whitney, in California. Sally McRae was first-place, female, this year with a finishing time of 30:48:47.
Sally McRae’s path to being a professional ultramarathon runner was unconventional. As a teenager, she had her hopes set on being a professional soccer player. And the mindset she developed that led her to become a competitive ultramarathon runner started when she was young.
She was drawn to gymnastics from watching the Olympics. But, when her mother looked into the cost of training, it wasn’t in their budget. When Sally said, “That’s not fair!” Her mother responded, “Complaining won’t do anything. You can try to raise the money yourself.”
So Sally started babysitting, and worked to be the best she could be. Her clients came home to find the house cleaned, dishes done, along with the kids asleep in their beds.
Sally’s mindset practice starts with taking hold of the day with gratitude and prayer. She says this also helps her stay focused on the big picture of what she is working for.
This mindset served her well in her race at Badwater. She had trained hard, working to adapt her body to the heat and discomfort she knew she would face. She knew she was strong. The challenge that came was her stomach. At only 14 miles into the race she began to have problems keeping food down. But she chose to focus on what was working, her legs felt good, and she kept going.
Her closing comments about her mindset at Badwater come close to being a super-power. She went into this race with the mindset to feel and experience all the difficulty and struggle. Rather than put on a tough persona to convince others, and herself, that she is better and stronger than any challenge in the race, she accepted the discomfort and pain as part of the experience. And kept going anyway.
Besides being a professional runner, Sally is a coach, and she is working on a fitness app that combines strength training and mindset training. Connect with her through the links below to find out more.
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