Whats Next?

Unbreakable – Inspired By the Barkley Marathons

Blog Update #20

It’s been a little while since I’ve done one of these, a little over 2 months which doesn’t sound long but always feels like an eternity. I’ve got a new job at a petrol station since then and the list of ultramarathons I’ve completed keeps getting longer, just like the amount of Covid-19 lockdowns we’re experiencing in Victoria (not the way we should be living). The one thing I will say is the most recent lockdown (the one were currently in), in combination with a calve niggle thats preventing me from running has slowed down my ridiculously fast paced life and got me thinking, it’s been the pause I needed. For the first time in my ultra-running journey I’ve started to question what I’m getting out of ultra-running. Theres many things I get out of ultra-running including the friendships and community, exploring the beauty of unique environments, in combination with helping me maintain a good level of aerobic fitness, however…. I’m no longer struggling like I used to, running 100 miles doesn’t scare me and a 50km no longer feels like a daunting challenge. The growth I got from overcoming these challenges has diminished, and for me thats been the driving factor for participating in them. Increasing the frequency (the challenge of back to back ultramarathons) was working to increase the challenge however, that too has lost the challenge it used to present me. As a result it’s lost it’s spark, I’ve become comfortable being uncomfortable whilst ultra-running. It saddens me to realise this but it’s the truth, I’ve just finished reading “Turning Right – Inspire the Magic by Kay Bretz (its an awesome book I’d recommend to everyone, runners and non-runners alike!). He writes about “turning right” which in an oversimplified explanation means getting out of your comfort zone to grow. Ultra-running to me at the start was to turn right, when 20km seemed like an extremely long distance. Overcoming that fear led to growth which has translated into growth in all aspects of my life, each challenge/milestone led to further growth as I overcame fear. 50km, 100km, 100mi, isolated mountain runs, logistical challenges to make these races possible, etc. However now the only races that bring about the same level of fear and anxiety which brings the growth is the extreme and/or renowned races (Badwater 135, Hardrock 100, Barkley Marathons, etc.), 200 mile races and 24 hour track races. I don’t mean this to sound arrogant, it actually saddens me that the “magic” of simply running 50km-100mi has lost its spark. It’s made me think maybe it’s time to move on, I’m always going to run ultramarathons, I enjoy the community and the beauty of the environment too much however I think its time I focus my attention elsewhere. What sparks that exciting fear of anxiety and failure now? Ironman triathlons, ultra-man, ultra-swimmng, even shorter but more intense challenges. Mountaineering and climbing mountains will always be there, this will always be my biggest passion but with Covid-19 and with my current financial situation I don’t see myself climbing any significant mountains for a while.

So this is kind of where I’m at, I’m reading books upon books to grow and develop, to better understand myself and this crazy world. I’m soul searching to find what the next big challenge is, and I’ve got some ideas and optimistic plans for 2022, and it excites and scares the hell out of me. If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backwards.

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