One Simple Tip to Succeed at Anything

Susan Donnelly learns from a mindset mistake about being "all in" when running Wild Duluth 100k

I travelled to Savannah, Georgia, this weekend for the kick-off a mastermind group I’ve joined.

Not a race, but I still discovered something most of my DNFs (did not finish) have in common. 

Take my DNF last October at Wild Duluth 100k in Duluth, Minnesota. Most people assume it was because I finished the Moab 240-mile race a scant four days earlier and had no time to recover. Yeah, I was tired, but I know I could have finished. I just hadn’t figured out why I didn’t.

Until now.

A few hours into that race, rain turned the trail to a mud slick. I’d been running moderately easy, talking to a friend, when I remembered the race has a tight cutoff. 

I tried to up my pace but the mud turned every step into either slipping or falling. I’ve never fallen that much in a race, ever. Clock time was draining away and I knew it.

I reached the dreaded powerline - two long, steep ups and downs - to find it almost impassable. Two inches forward, one back, repeat. There was little to pull myself up with except blackberry bushes (not recommended). And since this was an out-and-back course, I’d have to do it again on the return when the course would be even more chewed up by the runners ahead.

I tried harder and harder but it made no difference. To make a long, muddy story short, I missed cutoff and was pulled at mile 54, the last cutoff in the 62-mile race.

You might think the culprit was mud (it was indeed miserable) but my state of mind was worse.

I wasn’t all in.

By “all in,” I’m not talking about blasting the whole thing full speed. I'm talking about committing.

Here’s why I wasn’t.

I’d been on the road for almost two weeks - driving to and running the Moab 240, then driving from Moab to Duluth. I was planning to sleep after this race, wake up, and drive 12 hours home to Tennessee the next day, but it would be tight.

To make it tighter, getting home even half a day late would impact my ability to go to Javelina 100 later in the week and spend the following week with my parents. Then there was work, unpacking and repacking in between. It all required precision timing.

And getting done with this race. Wild Duluth 100k had become a box to check on the way home from Moab.

As I slid through the mud, I was mentally more invested in being done than getting done.

So I wasted time because I wasn’t focused enough to remember the tight cutoff at the start, or think to look for a better way over the powerline section.

i can find the same resistance in most of my other DNFs.

And at the start in Savannah, but this was different. After no time, my reservations about being right for the group or having the time to devote to it vanished. Working with these amazing women was a rare opportunity and I knew it, so that evening, I sat down and told myself, “I’m all in.”

It doesn’t matter if it’s a race or a mastermind group or a relationship, or anything else that matters to you.

If you want to succeed, you have to commit. 

Look at your life. Is there something you say you want to do or be, but aren’t investing the effort to make happen? 

How would it look, what would change, if you went all in? 

Learn from my mistake.

If it’s something you truly want to do, don’t go into it halfway or with reservations. 

Go all in.