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Ras Vaughan: The Ultra Pedestrian

Ras Vaughan Thinks of an Impossible Challenge, and Then He Does It!


Ras Vaughan is a self-described “backpacker turned into a back of the packer.”

Ras Vaughan: The Ultra Pedestrian

Ras Vaughan: The Ultra Pedestrian
📸: Gavin Woody

You know how I’m still struggling to understand those ultra distance people?

Ras takes my lack of understanding to another level as someone who really enjoys 200 mile races.

Yes, 200 miles.

But more accurately, he especially enjoys non-standard distances and unsupported races.

Race Culture vs. Trail Culture

A lot of runners, including your truly, are at least somewhat focused on speed with faster always being better.

On the trails, however, there isn’t as much of a focus on speed as their is on the roads.

Ras is the trail culture personified, and is much less concerned with going fast as he is with being able to finishing the events he starts ON FOOT. Read more

Bullshit.

Quick Tip: Stop Setting Limits-The Only Thing Stopping You is You!


Limits are an Illusion

“Limits, like fears, are often an illusion.”

~Michael Jordan

I suck sometimes.

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty good at telling myself that something is beyond my reach and then giving up the pursuit because something seems “impossible”.

How many times have I said I want to qualify for Boston? I’ve lost count, but just about every time I talk about it I also mention that I need to get older because the idea of running a sub-3:05 is pretty much impossible at this point.

I’ve told myself, over and over, that I’m incapable of achieving my goal until I get old enough that my qualifying time becomes more attainable.

I’ve placed limits on my ability, and I do it all the fricking time.

Some Things Clearly are Impossible

There’s a difference, at least in my mind, between setting limits to what you can achieve and impossibilities.

Bullshit.

Bullshit.

Point blank, some things are impossible.

As an example, I’m never going to qualify for the Olympics in the 100 m dash. It’s just not going to happen.

I can train my ass off, and I’m not going to be able to run 100 m in 10 seconds.

Sorry, but some things are definitely impossible.

Limits vs Impossibilities

When I’m talking about the limits that we set for ourselves, and our need to stop doing so, I’m talking about the things that we may not be able to do at the moment but are clearly within the realm of possibility.

Need some examples? Here are just a few that quickly come to mind:

  • I could never run a marathon.
  • I could never run a 100 mile race.
  • I could never run a 5k without stopping.
  • I could never start my own business.
  • I could never learn a new language.
  • I could never…

Hundreds, if not thousands, of people do things like these every day.

So clearly, they are possible. You may not be capable at the moment, and that’s ok, but to say you could NEVER is akin to setting limits on your potential.

And that needs to stop.

Be Honest, Then Surprise Yourself

Right now, I’m not capable of running a sub-3:05 marathon.

But that doesn’t mean I could never do it.

It’s important that we are honest with ourself about what our current limits are, but remain willing to do the work to push ourselves beyond our current limits.

I know that I’m capable of running a faster 26.2 than my current marathon PR.

I know it for a fact.

Fact

Yet I’m really hesitant to pick a time that I’m shooting for at Running with the Bears, because I don’t want to place a limit on myself.

Would I be happy with a 3:45? You bet! But what if I’m capable of running a 3:37 come race day? If I set 3:45 as the goal, aka the limit, for myself at that race would I be able to dig deep and come away with a 3:37 or just simply be content to run a 3:45?

I don’t know. And that is why I’m working hard to stop setting limits for myself and just let the chips fall where they may.

And I’d encourage you to do the same thing.

Honestly assess where you are currently, then go forward and do big things!

And in so doing, you might just surprise yourself along the way…

Stop setting arbitrary limits on yourself! #runchat #running Click To Tweet

What Running Goals are Possibly Out of Your Reach, But Not Beyond the Realm of Possibility? 

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Is There a Problem with Striving for Perfection

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”

~Vince Lombardi

Raise your hand if this quote hits close to home because you tend to hold yourself to the standard of either “Perfect” or “Abject Failure”.

Guilty as Charged

Guilty as Charged

This is definitely something that I struggle with, especially when it comes to my running.

I’ve talked before about the half marathon where I set a 7 minute PR and instead of being excited at the result I was pissing and moaning because I missed my “A” goal by 5 fricking seconds.

Honestly, to this day I still beat myself up over the fact that I stopped at one point to pour water over my head, which definitely cost me more than 5 seconds.

But you know what, even if I had come in just under my “A” goal I probably would have still gone back and dissected my race to figure out how I could have shaved a few more seconds on that particular day instead of just celebrating the fact that I ran an excellent race on that hot and humid summer day in Central Florida. Read more

Who Says It's Impossible?

Everything is Impossible Until it No Longer Is

“Some of the World’s Greatest Feats were Accomplished by People Not Smart Enough to Know They Were Impossible.”

~Doug Larson

What a profound statement, eh?

Think about all of the things that were “impossible” until they weren’t.

  • 4 Minute Mile
  • Sub-10 sec 100 meter dash
  • A woman running a marathon without losing her uterus along the way…

The list of things that were thought to be impossible until proven otherwise can go on for awhile, especially if we expand beyond the realm of running.

Why Put Limits on Yourself?

Who Says It's Impossible?

Who Says Something is Impossible?

What is impossible in your life right now?

One of the life lessons I’ve learned as a runner is that we are very often our own biggest obstacle. We have this nasty habit of convincing ourselves that something is impossible before we’ve even given it a shot.

Think about it, have you ever said “Oh I couldn’t do that”?

Maybe someone asked you to run a 5k with them, and you didn’t think that was possible.

Or the first time you thought about running a marathon?

Or my personal bug-a-boo, thinking about racing longer than 26.2 miles?

“Oh I couldn’t do that.”

Bull shit.

We (and believe me, this is directed squarely at me as much or more than it is at anyone reading this post) need to stop worrying about what we don’t think we can do and put ourselves out there to see what really is possible.

Because if we allow ourselves to believe that we can’t do something, we have a 100% chance of being right. But if we give ourselves a fighting chance, we might surprise ourselves…

Impossible is a Reality

Now, I’m not saying that you can do anything you set your mind to, if you’ll just work hard enough.

The second time that I had Dane Rauschenberg on the podcast, he caught me off guard when he said that some things actually are impossible.

Not what I expected from a motivational speaker.

But as he elaborated on that statement, it made more and more sense.

Some things just aren’t possible. Allow me to be the example here.

It would be safe to say that I’ll ever run a sub-4 minute mile. For me, that is impossible. But can I get faster at a mile? Sure!

If I dedicate a significant amount of time and effort training to improve my time in the mile, I will definitely get faster.

Eventually, I’ll reach my peak where due to my genetics and physiology I won’t be able to get faster. I don’t know what that top speed would be, but it’s safe to say it’s much faster than I probably think I could possibly get.

By going after things that seem “impossible”, even if we never reach that goal, we will often go far beyond what we think we capable of and find out what our limits actually are.

And more often than not, that which we truly are capable of is mind blowing.

Stop Holding Yourself Back

It’s time to blow your mind.

What are you currently preventing yourself from achieving? What have you convinced yourself is impossible, that you’ve never really even tried?

Maybe it’s running a 5k without stopping.

Maybe it’s running an ultra marathon.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter what “it” is. The fact is, we could all do a lot more than we’ve done before if we would dare to attempt that which seems impossible.

Do it.

What is Something That Seems Impossible to You Now That You’ve Never Really Tried? What is Holding You Back from Attempting the Impossible?

Perfection is for Suckers

Now that we are a week into 2015, how are you doing with your running resolutions?

Are you still going strong? Are you barely hanging on? Have you already thrown in the towel?

While I am admittedly a fan of setting running resolutions/goals at the start of a new year, it is frustrating to me to see how many people shoot for the moon but then give up in just a few short weeks (if they even make it that long).

So, if I can ask again, how are you doing with your resolutions?

Perfection is Impossible

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Why do we struggle so much with keeping our resolutions? Do we bite off more than we can chew? Do we lack the fortitude to do what it takes to keep grinding away when the going gets tough? Do we tend to set token resolutions, the kind we have no intention of ever keeping anyway, so we don’t feel bad when we inevitably give up?

I don’t think so.

You know why I think we tend to give up on our resolutions? Because when we set a resolution, we demand perfection from ourselves. And once we fail once or twice, we simply say the hell with even trying and resign ourselves to starting over again next year.

News flash yall. Perfection is impossible. Whatever your resolution might be, there is no way that the road to achievement will be perfectly smooth. While you may feel like everything must go perfectly with your resolution in 2015 in order for it to be considered successful, in the real world that will never happen.

And if that’s your expectation, you seriously should give up right now.

Perfection is Elusive, but It’s Still a Good Goal

There is nothing wrong with shooting for perfection when it come to your 2015 resolutions.

Perfection, Target, Goal

I’ve set some lofty goals for this year, and I’m going to do everything that I can to achieve them. But I’m also fully aware that I could miss a day of posting, maybe take longer to read a book than I thought, or end up with an injury that prevents me from hitting my mileage goals.

And if any of those things happen, I will not consider myself a failure for coming up short on one of my goals.

I have a goal of creating 365 posts this year. If I end up with only 360, that’s still pretty damn good and I’d still consider that a very successful year. Sure, I’d prefer to be a perfect 365 for 365, but if I happen to miss a day, why would I give up? Why not just keep going?

The Only Way You Can Truly Fail is to Quit

So now that we are 7 days into 2015, how are you doing with your resolutions? If you’re still riding high, keep building the momentum and moving forward. But if you’re struggling, don’t give up. Just accept the fact that you ultimately won’t be perfect, but there is no reason you can’t continually strive for perfection.

If you keep striving for perfection and refuse to quit the times you fall short, there is no way you’ll be anything but successful 358 days from today.

Perfection is impossible, but damn good is well within your reach.

So keep pushing forward, and don’t ever give up.