Recently, I had three separate people ask me about their readiness to run ultramarathons of varying distances. Whenever someone asks this question, my answer is always the same- go for it!
All too often, we choose comfort and safety over adventure. We do this in all aspects of our lives. We use different justifications, but it really boils down to fear of the unknown.
I am guilty of this as much as anyone. Many of the new things I try are accompanied with tremendous fear. Some of us have no problems facing those fears. Most of us, however, are not quite so brave. So how do we overcome these fears that keep us from experiencing new adventures?
Several of the books I’ve read lately address this issue and recommend the same basic advice- verbalize exactly what it is you fear. What is the worst possible scenario? Once the fear is known, you can then make a plan to account for the absolute worst-case scenario. All of a sudden, that fear isn’t so bad.
At this point, we can then compare doing the activity versus not doing the activity. If you are deciding whether or not to try an ultra, what is the worst that can happen? Okay, death would suck… but you’d likely stop before that happens. Realistically, you’d DNF. Been there, done that. Not finishing a race can be a wonderful learning experience. Also, it gives you time to hang out at the finish line and drink beer. That’s a pretty good worst case scenario.
Even the most timid would find this activity useful. It is amazing how effective it is at alleviating the fear. As Shelly and I plan to hit the road in an RV, many people have commented that they could never do it. They would like to, but fear keeps them from even seriously considering it.
Here’s an example. In my previous post, I linked to the silly Gu Roctane video the Hobby Joggas made over the last few weeks. Shelly wrote and sang the Roctane jingle. It was something she feared, but she faced the fear and did it anyway. The results were awesome! She’s become a bit of an expert at facing her fears, and is a constant source of inspiration for me.
The next time you’re confronted with an opportunity for a great adventure, just go for it. It makes life a lot more exciting, and also creates some great stories.