30,000 Feet of Perspective

3 months ago, my brother asked me to run a 100 kilometer trail race with him near our birthplace in Louisiana. I hem hawed around for a month or so, unwilling to commit. I had just completed two marathons within a month of each other after spending the majority of the summer and fall training, but 100 kilometers? 62.1 miles?! That was a different story altogether. I am usually not one to shy away from seemingly impossible tasks, but this one was different. In the past, I have set difficult goals but they were goals that were mostly doable and even if I missed, I had the confidence that I would at least get close to accomplishing them.

This one though…this was one of those things that seemed so far outside of my realm of possibility, that it actually posed a more serious opportunity to fail and fail big. I had never run anything more than a 50 kilometer race (31 miles) and this was double that distance and even more daunting, probably15-20 hours of non-stop movement on my feet. Do I have the willpower to do this? Am I physically and mentally capable of covering 62 miles of trail? Is my life insurance paid up? Actually, that was my wife’s question.

After a lot of debate and even more questions of my sanity, I decided to commit and at least give it a shot. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Death, actually. Death could happen. My brother calmed that fear though assuring me that I would pass out first. Thanks bro. My brother is a much more experienced trail and ultra-runner, so I would need to lean on him for that experience and knowledge if I had even a chance of succeeding at this challenge.

Fast-forward a couple of months, and I am on a plane headed to Texas – then Louisiana via car to the Kisatchie National Forest. What the hell was I thinking? Seriously! The race is 36 hours away and I have no idea how this will turn out. I consider myself to be a determined and strong-willed person who is in more than decent running shape, but the doubts are swirling.

This is life though, right? We prepare the best we can for it, but in reality we have no idea what tomorrow holds. If the future brings obstacles that require determination and discipline to overcome, how will we react? I will tell you how; by giving it everything we’ve got and refusing to quit. That’s big talk from 30,000 feet up, but in 36 hours, it will be time to step up and put my will to the ultimate test.

Stay tuned…

Published by

Justin Skains

Hard-working husband, father, coach, and amateur ultra-marathoner who prides himself on results day-in and day-out...and oh yes, I love to write!

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