Pursuing His Passion: Ultramarathon Runner Dean Karnazes

Apr 04, by Clara in Interviews

Dean Karnazes  is an American ultramarathon runner, and author. Dean has pushed his body and mind to inconceivable limits. Among his many accomplishments, he has run 350 continuous miles, foregoing sleep for three nights. He's run across Death Valley in 120 degree temperatures, and he's run a marathon to the South Pole in negative 40 degrees. On ten different occasions, he's run a 200-mile relay race solo, racing alongside teams of twelve. Another endeavor was running 50 marathons, in all 50 US states, in 50 consecutive days, finishing with the NYC Marathon, which he ran in three hours flat. We could speak with this outstanding athlete about his goals, motivation and passion

Limitations are self-constructed. Ultramarathons show you that preconceived boundaries don’t exist.

How did you find your passion for running ultramarathons?

I first started running home from kindergarten when I was six-years old. I kept running until my freshman year of high school, but didn’t like the new cross-country coach and quit. I went on to college and then business school and had a really comfortable corporate job in San Francisco. But I hated my life. I felt unfulfilled, even though I had a good career and bright future. On the night of my 30th birthday I was in a bar with some friends celebrating when suddenly felt this primordial urge to leave. “What?” my friends questioned, “It’s only midnight; let’s have another round of tequila.” Instead, I walked out of the nightclub and ran 30-miles to celebrate my 30th birthday. I ran straight through the night and it almost killed me, but I just kept going. It felt right, despite the pain and blisters. That drunken night forever changed the course of my life.

What was the most important lesson you’ve learned pursuing ultramarathons?

That limitations are self-constructed. Ultramarathons show you that preconceived boundaries don’t exist.

dean karnazes pursuing

How do you deal with lows (fatigue, hopelessness, push-backs, exhaustion) during an ultramarathon or more generally speaking in life? How do you keep going?

Many people think I’m superhuman and don’t experience these things, but that’s not true. To get through low points in running and in life I try not to focus on anything but the current moment in time. I try just to be present, in the now, not thinking about the future or reflecting on the past. Just be present, I remind myself. It’s remarkable what you can get through if you can put yourself in this place.

How do you feel about setting goals and pursuing them?

Setting goals is an essential step in achieving what you want in life. Without goals you’re moving sideways (or worse, backwards) instead of forward.

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Becoming such an exceptional athlete doesn't happen over night. What has kept and is still keeping you so aligned and consistent?

The pursuit of what I love. If you orient your life toward pursuing your passions motivation comes naturally.

If you orient your life toward pursuing your passions motivation comes naturally.

How do you feel about using tools, apps or any other motivational techniques to follow up with goals in a consistent & tangible way?

I’ve been an early adopter of using technology for goal attainment. Technology makes it easier to set goals and quantify progress toward achieving them. And, of course, nobody does it better than Goalify!

 

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