Why I’m Dropping Out of Yet Another Ultramarathon [and how it applies to you]

Why you do something is more important that whether you do it

 

Me and ultras have this thing. It’s an up and down kind of relationship that sometimes sees me as excited as a ten year old kid at their own birthday party, and sometimes has me puking at the finish line, or worse, not even getting to the start line.

I started running primarily to get in better shape for climbing mountains – as at the time I was just getting into mountaineering. Always being at the back of the pack on small hikes didn’t set me up well for the bigger mountains.

For a while, I would start the hiking season in pretty poor shape, go hiking and backpacking all summer and get in decent shape, then fall off the exercise wagon all winter and start at scratch again the following Spring.

There was some progress, but not much. Not enough to keep me excited and really progressing.

I needed a better strategy. Heck, I needed a strategy.

I figured running would be my ticket, as I knew how accessible and how effective it was at boosting fitness.

But getting yourself to run, when you’ve been fairly inactive for a while isn’t easy.

Granted I am used to high levels of activity, having played Junior hockey and every other team sport under the sun growing up.

But after spending so much time focused on university and my mental health, it felt like I was starting from scratch – not to mention I had gained over 50lbs (not muscle).

A goal of running an ultramarathon started coming on to my radar.

A typical 1/2 or Full marathon for some reason wouldn’t do it for me.

They’re generally run on the road (which I can’t stand) and their finite.

Ultra’s are pretty much all on trails, which I love and there’s no limit to what they can be.

So Why’d I Drop Out?

In the Fall, I was inspired by a colleague, Christie Durnin who had signed up for The Gorge race and it looked absolutely beautiful.

A course with waterfalls, along the Columbia River and parts of the Pacific Coat Trail.

So on a whim, I signed up – for the 100km option.

I attempted my first 100km last June and only made it half way. I couldn’t get myself to turn around and run back the same route I had just run.

In August, I ran my first 50 miler (80km), so 100km is another milestone to keep things progressing and keep myself excited about training.

But it just hasn’t been happening. With all the things to do for my business, my priorities have been shifting towards building a strong foundation for Mavrixx, and it takes a lot of time and more importantly, energy.

I used to wind myself up and push myself literally to collapse, which twice landed me in the world of mental health struggles.

I’ve since learned how to push hard, but also pull back.

It’s a tricky balance as I’m constantly wanting to do more and bigger things, and it’s painful for me to say no to things, or worse – to back out of things I’ve committed to.

But while I’ve gotten better at predicting and planning my commitments, I still need to adjust once in a while.

Right now, taking the 100km run (which would be at the end of March) off my plate relieves a lot of stress and pressure and I can double down my energy for projects and speeches and still keep training for the Squamish 50-50 in August.

How Does This Apply to You?

What areas are sucking up a lot of your time and energy that aren’t top priorities?

What are your strategies for pushing hard, but also pulling back?

What can you do to improve your planning and committing to projects, people and partnerships?

Where do you want to spend more time and energy?

Just take some time to think through those questions whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed and adjust your plans as needed.

You’ll feel less stressed, free up time and have more energy to apply to your true top priorities.

Final Thoughts

Does that make sense to you? This exact strategy has been such a key one to not only keeping me stable and healthy for over 7 years, but has allowed me to handle a lot more at once while still enjoying myself and the work/activities.

Leave me a comment below with one or two things you think you need to reduce and where you’ll re-focus that extra time and energy.

I look forward to reading your response.

Brent Seal

Brent Seal is a Speaker, Trainer and Adventurer and the Founder of Mavrixx. Based in Vancouver, Brent is the creator of The EDGE High Performance Wellness Training Program and the MINDvsMOUNTAIN Adventure Program. Brent is a Co-Creator and Co-Host of the Balancing Our Minds Youth Summit held at Rogers Arena and he’s likely Canada’s 4th worst ultra-runner.

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