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Liza Howard: Practice contrived suffering
Here's another shout-out for; a recent episode featured Hal Koerner and Liza Howard.  Both are top flight endurance athletes.

Liza won the 2011 Rocky Raccoon 100 mile women's category in 15:33 and was fifth overall on the day.  She's the type of individual who knows how to perform. Part of that success comes in the form of mental capacity to process the challenges that come from long-distance racing.

Liza made an interesting comment during the podcast that engaged my thinking.  She stated that we need to practice suffering in contrived situations (i.e. ultrarunning) so that we can step up to the plate when true events of suffering come into our lives.

I find this profound and good advice.  It's interesting to note that this topic came up in a discussion with my riding buddy Chuck...the guy who took that terrible fall on a bike descent this spring.  Chuck broke a collarbone, ribs, his pelvis and had a concussion.  It's been a long road back.  Chuck commented that the numerous hours of training we do - engaging the pain on each of the many climbs - builds us for the times we must truly suffer, such as the recovery phase after a crash.

There are other life events that will bring suffering - broken relationships, death of a loved one, job loss and personal conflicts.  In each of these, we can lean on the suffering we have built into our souls through the rigors of all things ultra.

Life is about embracing the good with the bad.  When we live the master competitor life, there is a bridge that helps us manage what we do now...and what is yet to come.

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You have to look closely (click and enlarge photo if needed), but when you do, check out the 5th metacarpal (bone furthest from thumb).

The diagonal break is symbolic of what happens when your mountain bike handlebars snap around 360 degrees, and those bars catch your hand against the bike frame during the rotation.

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