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Afraid to Run That Ultra Marathon?

Written By George Callahan

Nov 24, 2019

Who Is Fear?

Fear is a jester. He dances around the hall of greatness and mocks passersby, planting doubts and insecurities in the minds of those peeking in. He sings of their shortcomings; he jokes about their failures. His greatest trick is keeping people away from the hall of greatness.

Fear’s greatest trick is convincing you to lead a boring, unexplored life.

Have you peeked into the hall of greatness lately?

Open yourself to the physical, emotional, and mental harvest afforded you. There is no other person on Earth with your talents, skills, and experiences; peek in that hall.

Ask yourself: Today, what can I accomplish for the fruition of my goal? What physical storms can I weather? How can I detach from my emotions and calm my society-induced anxious mind? Where are my thoughts taking me?

Fear is a jester. He dances around that hall of greatness and strums an anxious tune, one born of a society infatuated with opinion and comparison. Fear wants you to compare; he wants you to form opinions.

Comparison and opinions are a soil perfect for the growth of doubts and insecurities.

See those people! Why aren’t you like them? Are you working hard enough? Are you good enough?

Fear has you. You peeked into that hall of greatness and stepped inside. Unfortunately, you fell for his tricks.

You’ve fallen for his comparison; commitment to your path crumbles as your mind dances from person to person, desiring what they have and who they are.

He’s roped you into impatient debate, a conversation of distracted minds, a mindless scrolling through social media profiles of status and influence and achievement.

Fear is a jester.

Cut his throat.

“Why haven’t you done it yet?”

I signed up for a 50 mile race before any other distance. I skipped the marathon, half-marathon, 5K and 10K, and any Turkey Trot or Fun Run in between.

It was a Rich Roll podcast featuring David Goggins that left me browsing popular race sites like UltraSignUp, biting my nails as my imagination painted me on some mountainous trail with a colorful bib pinned to my shirt. David mentioned how people often say to him: I would love to complete Badwater one day!

His response to those people?

Why haven’t you done it yet?

His question changed my life: Why haven’t you done it yet?

The next day I registered for an ultra marathon of 50 miles, having never ran more than 10 miles in one go. I left no time for thought, comparison, research (seriously, I was unprepared), or the opinions of others. What would they matter? The only thing I saw was that hall of greatness, of exploration and growth, and Fear lurking around, waiting to trick me into that boring and unexplored life.

Hold on, Fear would say. Let’s think about this. Why not ask someone what they think? Why not train for some time and see how it goes?

I had to cut his throat; there was no room for comparison and opinions, for clicking through websites filled with statistics and numbers and stories.

I wanted my own stories, numbers, and stats.

This is a lesson I carry with me now: the time for thought and analysis is gone. How am I spending my time? What actions am I putting off? What pursuits am I leaving to others, those I see as more capable or in a better position?

Why haven’t you done it yet?

Pursue your goal, that peak in the distance, with a strange vigor. Let it illuminate your thoughts, conversations, and training sessions. Don’t let it slide for Fear, for his tricky tune of comparison and opinions.

Get after it. It is yours to have.

Sign up for that farther distance. Challenge yourself with a time-goal. Commit to a long, patience-testing program for the sake of your health and performance.

Don’t leave those things for someone else.

Peek in that hall of greatness.

Why haven’t you yet?

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Written By George CallahanIt's a silly, simple question. No, it's more than that. It's a question that has tugged at my mind, manipulated my intentions, and directed my actions for a long time. I'm not here to crowd-please or coddle the spaces of others, but the...

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Written By George CallahanThe blue sky turned grey, the concrete turned to ice, and our wandering eyes, exploring the Virginia mountainsides, turned to the road. The snow fell in clumps and the temperature dropped; the higher our four wheels drove, the whiter my...