Mike Sidic is no stranger to courage. Growing up in Northern Manitoba, Mike was immersed in the outdoors. His first real taste for running came when he joined a friend for a 10-mile trek in Vancouver.
The rugged backcountry of Canada is where Mike fell in love with the trail. Every attempt at a new distance became a daring challenge, and a venture into the unknown.
The moment that’s taken the most courage is overcoming unexpected loss. Upbeat and strong-willed, Mike’s mom was his everything, and he was devastated by her death. He said, “When things go sideways in races, her memory lives on, and I suck it up and keep moving. With sport, there are highs and lows, but with loss, there’s an inheritance of grief. You learn to control the lows and move ahead.” Much like running on a new trail, grief is a world of the unknown. His mother’s death helped him recognize that life can change swiftly, so one must find the courage to give things a good crack.
Running has long been Mike’s key to finding courage and overcoming grief. In 2022, Mike faced his biggest running challenge—the Cascade Crest 100-mile trail run.
“The urge to quit in a 100-mile race is quite immense at times, but I kept reminding myself to keep trudging ahead to the next aid station, eat lots, and hopefully, it will turn around. Sometimes you must ask yourself, ‘are you really done? Or can you get a few more miles in?’ But more often than not, we can go further despite the whispers of the mind telling us otherwise.”
He says, “trust the training” is a mantra that continued to play on repeat during his first 100-mile race. Mike leans heavily on his training to give him the strength to tackle ultras. When it comes to preparing for a race, Mike highlighted a few tips:
- Replication in training. He believes you can limit the mental recoil of a new experience by trying to replicate it. The toughest part of the first 100-mile race for Mike was heading into the night, but going on a training run that transitioned from day to night helped the process of what to expect.
- Have the right gear. Training with the right gear adds an element of relief when prepping for a race. It’s one less stressor to think about, knowing that your shoes and apparel will work for you.
- Train both solo and in a group. Mike says he finds a duality with running in which sometimes you choose to run solo and sometimes with others. When you’re tired and unmotivated, a group pays off. But a lot of ultrarunning is solo, so being comfortable on the trail for hours at a time is important for race prep.
Mike’s story of pushing to 100 miles and moving through the grief of losing his mom is one of perseverance and strength. His journey has truly taken courage.
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