I’m incredibly excited about 2014.

Want to know why? Because I’ll be taking some major risks.

And I’m scared shitless.

But shaking in my boots is all part of the excitement. If all goes as planned, and even if it doesn’t, I’ll be putting myself out there more in 2014 than I ever have before. Now this is obviously a big deal for me, but let me explain why you might actually care. And why I’m taking major risks to begin with.

Running Towards the Fear

Back in November I wrote a post about why I was setting a goal to run 100 miles. It was a big goal, one I was scared to publicly announce for fear of failure.

In that post I shared a quote from Seth Godin, where he talked about how without goals, life is easy. The flip side, he implied, was that setting a goal means you actually have to do something and work towards a certain result. And that is far from easy.

Since writing that post I’ve become borderline obsessed with goal setting and positioning myself for success with things I only fantasized about in the past.

Here are just a few of the examples of where that obsession has taken me:

  • I’ve been pouring over every word of Steven Pressfield’s Turning Pro, which makes it nearly impossible not to start leaving your ‘amateur’ life behind.
  • I’m several days in to Matt Frazier’s (the man I owe a lot of this to) new eBook Wake Up: 31 Days & Actions to Take Charge of Your Life, an incredibly well written, action-oriented program that focuses on making lasting mindset changes, not just ideas that will fade away shortly after you start.
  • And I’m even working my way through Seth Godin’s goal setting workbook Pick Four, based off Zig Ziglar’s infamous, off-the-wall program.

What I’ve learned through all this study and work is that Seth’s quote implying that setting goals is difficult is only half the story. Sure, setting goals might make life more challenging, but setting the goals isn’t the hard part.

It’s setting yourself up for actually achieving those goals that’s the really hard part.

Because setting yourself up for success means leaving all the comforts you hid behind for so long in the dust.

And that, my friends, is terrifying.

I didn’t do this with my first 50k ultramarathon. I set the goal, signed up for the race, and started training. It might sound like I took all the right steps, but what I neglected to do was what made the experience so brutal in the end.  I neglected to actually study the sport of ultrarunning and learn how to properly run the distance.  I neglected to set myself up for a successful race.

I did this because I was scared.  Scared of failure.  Scared of not reaching the 50k goal.  If I didn’t set myself for a successful race, and failed, I’d already be armed with a million excuses.

I did finish that race, which might on the surface seem like I had reached the goal.  But that race was full of painful, self-doubting, dreadfully slow miles. It felt terrible. And when I did reach that finish line, I didn’t think I’d ever want to do it again.

That wasn’t the ultramarathon I set out to run.  That was unprepared me who had hid behind comforts of what I already knew.

But we have to run towards that fear, not hide behind it. We have to set the far-out-there goal of running 100 miles.

Or maybe running 5 miles.

Or qualifying for Boston.

Or losing that 10 pounds you have kept saying you’re going to lose but never really start trying.

We have to put in the effort, use the tools, quit hiding behind our armature excuses, and take the risks that will surely be uncomfortable.  It’s those uncomfortable risks that will be the only road to success.

In 2014, I’ll be doing this in some major ways:

  • For starters, I’m on track for that 100. Training has been going well, and I’m confident that by the end of May, I’ll have a finishers buckle around my waist.
  • In addition, you’ll see major changes in the blog. It’s time for Rock Creek Runner to become more than just a hobby of mine, but a successful tool for runners all over looking to improve, push themselves in new ways, and discover what running means to them.
  • I’m even pushing past the comfortable other aspects of my life like my career and the lifestyle Mrs. RCR and I want to live.

I’m incredibly excited for 2014. Precisely because I’m scared shitless.

Discover Your Ultramarathon

Ultra_Cover_3dI’m trilled to announce that I’m putting myself out there and fulfilling one of my goals, which just might help you properly fulfill one of yours. Later this month I’ll be releasing my first official product, and holy wow am I excited.

What started out several months ago as a collection of lessons learned throughout my ultramarathon finishes has turned into a full blown eGuidebook for anyone considering running their first ultramarathon.

The final product will be complete with 50k and 50 mile training plans, detailed instructions for how to properly train for the added distance and trails, what to eat before during and after a long run or race, interviews and contributions from world class athletes and race directors, and so very much more.

It’s incredible, and I can’t wait to share more details with you as we get closer to the launch.

If you’re even considering putting yourself out there in 2014 by running your first ultramarathon, this might just be the perfect product for you. Sign up here to stay in the loop with updates, further information, and a special offer only given to those who express interest early.

Author Doug Hay is the founder of Rock Creek Runner, host of the Trail Talk podcast, and fanatical about everything trail running -- beards, plaid shirts, bruised toenails, and all. He and his wife live and run in beautiful Black Mountain, NC.

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6 thoughts on “Scared Sh*tless

  1. I love this! It eerily echos my own thoughts. I too made scary goals this year (one of which is running a winter 35 miler in December) and am terrified (but also exhilarated). It’s funny how once I committed and began, I started to find support. (NMA’s podcast on his book tour was a big mental boost.) I’m looking forward to following your journey to the 100 miler.

    1. Thanks Katie, and congrats on setting scary goals! I look forward to following along with yours as well!

  2. I read your post twice and it really hits home. You are very correct with the goal setting and all that stuff. I never really set “official” goals for myself, but if I start a project of any kind I pull through and get it done. But I agree – I often keep those things on the quiet side because of that stupid feeling called fear of failure. I am kind of done with this and so your posting really hit home. For 2014 I signed up to run 3 marathons on 3 consecutive weekends (back-to-back-to-back weekends) – or better, I will run 3 marathons in the span of just 15 days.

    1. Christoph, glad it hit home! And 3 marathons in 15 days? What a stud! That’s an awesome goal. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thanks for a spot-on post.
    I just signed up for my 1st 100K, twice as far as I’ve ever run. And I’m nervous. But, I’m so excited to have a big goal. It’s incredibly motivating.

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