As we all struggle through life’s challenges, we are faced with the ever-present option to just quit. We can just admit defeat and walk away. If you ever need motivation to keep pushing along, you should look to Julie Moss.
Moss was a college student working on an exercise physiology thesis. As part of her research, she competed in the 1982 Ironman Triathalon in Hawaii. The race consisted of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike, then a 26.2 mile marathon – raced in that order and without a break.
As someone who struggles to run 3 miles, I cannot even comprehend a human being capable of doing all that. The thought of a 26 mile car ride seems exhausting to me. To do any one of those three tasks would be a huge accomplishment.
According to Moss, she did very little to prepare for the race and no special training ahead of time. However, she became a surprise hit by taking the lead of the race. As amazing as that was, it paled in comparison to what happened a few hundred yards from the finish line.
What resulted was probably the most impressive second place finish in the history of sports. As her body shut down from exhaustion and dehydration, she was no longer able to stand. Walking was not even an option for her tired legs. Determined to proceed, Moss managed to drag her body the final 50 feet to the finish line. I cannot imagine what a life-changing experience that must have been for the people standing around the finish line cheering her on. It would make even the most exciting Super Bowl touchdown seem dull.
“I was thinking, ‘When is this going to end?’ ” she said later. “Everyone thought I was really out of it, but my mind was really clear—my legs just kept going out.”
It is stories like those that illustrate what can be accomplished when you refuse to fail. I can’t imagine anyone would have faulted her if she had just given up 20 miles from the finish line. She was not an experienced triathlete and was way out of her element. Clearly, her body was not physically prepared for that kind of physical exertion. Her mind, however, was not prepared for failure.
If you need a motivational quote to get you through your next challenge, tape this one to your computer:
“I don’t care what people thought. I wanted to finish that race.” – Julie Moss