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You Might Regret Not Running An Ultra Marathon

Written By George Callahan

Aug 20, 2018

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Regret is a festering negativity, a self-blame for mistakes that have come and gone. Leave regret behind: run the ultra marathon.

Do you fear the regrets that hide in the back of your mind?

Do you refuse to look at them for fear the pain will become real again?

It is not often that people ponder regret; its a painful and strange endeavor, analyzing our own mistakes. On a deathbed, maybe. When something devastating occurs, perhaps. But daily, should we analyze regret, those actions and experiences we’d rather change?

At first glance, no. Don’t look at regret; it is failure and weakness. It is a state of yearning for what one can no longer change, things that are set in stone.

My meaning by regret, though, has already been lost. I mean regret for what is to come. Regret for missing what is to come.

What is to come?

Opportunity, adventure, and escape. Opportunity to escape the norm –cultural expectations– and create adventure. It is detrimental to society that people do not look forward in their lives with goals and vision and adventure.

Without the constant pursuit and contemplation of what we might miss, this opportunity to escape the norm and create adventure, we will certainly miss it.

Embrace each potential challenge that crosses you; adventure down the Wicked Trail. Let the fear for regret, not of regret, drive your actions. Pursue health, wealth, spirituality, and excellence with a strange vigor. Give common people, those who adhere to the culture of mediocrity, something to talk about. Then empower them! Show them what it’s like to climb a mountain, swim in cold water, run an ultra marathon, to experience. They are surely missing out.

Are you missing out?

Remember, live with a fear for regret.

A fear for regret means to anticipate regret and understand the danger of it. Don’t sulk in past mistakes or stay rooted in failures; this toxicity will control your mind and life. Rather, live with a mind unwilling to endure regret; our days are abundant with opportunity and adventure. Embrace these as adventurers, as runners, do. Entertain the mind with challenge and explore the world.

I don’t mean weekend runners and once-a-month 5Kers. Take offense where you’d like, but I’m talking about the badass “how-far-is-too-far where-does-this-trail-lead how-high-is-that-mountain” adventurers. People who live with an unrealistic sense of wonder about their bodies, minds, and the world around them.

What can they regret?

So focused on finding the highest peaks, the darkest trails, and the limits of their minds and bodies, these people have no time to live in the realm of opinion. Opinions are born from the observations of an outsider, an outsider stuck in the cultural lie of mediocrity, struggling to cope with the regret of missing out on adventure, tall mountains, cold water, and experience.

Opinions don’t live on the Wicked Trail. Regret cannot dig its roots there, either.

Opinions blocked out, a purpose established, and the joy of not knowing the adventures to come, how can a runner regret? He or she sees only the opportunity ahead:

“How fast can I reach the peak?”

“How far can I go?”

“Where does this trail lead?”

Regret lives at the bottom of the mountain, at the trail head. Those who never wanted to climb, run, and face adversity discuss rumors of greatness and fulfillment. They daydream of passions and goals they once had. The dark clouds and gnarled trail scared them away:

“What if I fall?”

“What if I get lost?”

“How can I realistically adventure there?”

Stuck at the trail head, sheltered from the storm of the mountain, common men and women build excuses; as time goes on, excuses turn into shame in oneself, regret. “Maybe I wouldn’t have fallen.” “I would have found the way, had I gone.” “I should’ve embraced the adventure.”

Leave the trail head. NOW.

Every opportunity is an adventure and every adventure is an opportunity. Look for each of these, and each of these within the other! If you are stuck in the realm of opinion, concerned with the thoughts of others about your passions, hobbies, and the path you’ve chosen, you’re stuck at the trail head. Leave the trail head. NOW.

Approach the trail.

Uncover your “WHY?” and determine your course. This is approaching the trail; find out what makes you sweat, cry, or laugh hysterically. You’ve abandoned opinion: Where are you most engaged? What brings you immense satisfaction and connects you to others? Approach the trail.

Take off.

You’ve found it now: your “WHY?” Have you committed yourself to it? What else would you rather do? Will you stay back here at the trail head with those sunk in mediocrity and complacency and continue to live with opinions? You see your future-self, stuck at the trail head and looking up the mountain, daydreaming of adventure. Have a fear for regret. Take off.

Be relentless on the trail.

Do not permit your future-self wondering what could-have-would-have-should-have been. A relentless pursuit of your goal, that thing that makes you sweat and cry and laugh hysterically, is the only cure for regret. Anything other than relentless action, forged in a “WHY?” that has been carved in stone, will lead to regret. You could have gone faster. You should have gone farther. Obliterate these thoughts; your goal may be over the next hill, around the next bend, or across the next stream. Go there. Be relentless on the trail.

You’ve left the trail head, approached the trail, and run the Wicked Trail with a relentless pursuit of your goal, a vision based on your “WHY?”

What’s next? Your goal may be many miles away. It will take days, weeks, months, or years to reach it. It may be a 100-mile race, a new business venture, a career change, or a relationship. Stay rooted in your “WHY?” and continue down the Wicked Trail.

As you run, pay attention to your surroundings, take it all in. Absorb the beauty of the process and learn as you run. Find purpose in the roots and rocks, the trips and stumbles, the wide rivers and thorn bushes. Learn from the struggles and successes, the pain and the joy; finding meaning in the pursuit of your goal.

Pick others up as you pass them on the trail, or as they pass you. Just like you, they chose to leave the trail head, committed to a purpose, and to run the Wicked Trail.

As you run, finding purpose in the details of your run and picking others up, remain malleable. Look for alternate routes, routes filled with new adventure and experience. Follow and lead; be willing to change your mind and your character based on your experience. Lean on your mistakes and victories and learn from them. Grow into a person those stuck at the trail head want to imitate; set an example of adventure and experience.

You might just learn something about yourself along the way.

This is the Wicked Trail…

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