#453 Moab 240 Mental Toughness Ryan Lange

WTR Lange | Mental Endurance

 

Most people would think that running a race would only take a toll on the physical body. In this episode, Ryan Lange delves into how his mental endurance was also challenged when he attempted the Moab 240. Ryan had been running various other races prior to the Moab 240, sometimes accompanied by his father. He emphasizes how you need to train both your body and your mind in preparation for a race. He shares his trials and tribulations while he was running the Moab 240, including the lack of sleep and continuous nourishment. Finishing the Moab 240 in more or less three days is definitely no easy feat.

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Moab 240 Mental Toughness Ryan Lange

We’re going to head out to Pennsylvania and connect with Ryan Lange. We connected on Instagram because he just finished the Moab 240. What’s the Moab 240? When a young man and a bunch of his friends, Cameron Hanes is one of them, decide to run 240 miles in Moab in the Utah area. Why is this important? Because mental toughness is by far the greatest asset or it can destroy you. We’ve got to be in shape, you’ve got to be in shape and Ryan’s got to be in shape to run this. For hunting, we’ve all got to be in shape some more or some less. When it comes down to push time, it’s what’s between the ears that make a difference between success and failure. I hope you like the show which is a little bit different. Ryan does hunt out east. He enjoys hunting and he’s a student at Drexel University. He’s one fine man that I’m happy to introduce to you.

WTR Lange | Mental EnduranceYou heard a treat and I got Ryan Lange. I found out about him on Instagram and social media because he was hanging out with Cameron Hanes for 240 miles at the Moab Ultra Run. Ryan, welcome to the show and we burned through such great content. I hope we can duplicate that for the readers.

Bruce, thank you for having me. I appreciate it and I’m excited.

Tell me why a sane Drexel University kid from out east in the Pennsylvania area would even consider doing 240 miles?

It’s a little bit crazy. I did my first marathon and it was a crazy feeling. In the end, you just conquered a marathon. There are not many people that can say they did that. It was a great feeling so I figured, “Why not go further?” I did a 50k up in North Jersey and I was on the trails. I absolutely fell in love with being out on the trails. I turned out to be in a huge nor’easter snowstorm mid-race. I was running in almost two feet of snow. I threw on the traction and grab things on my running shoes. I was slipping and sliding everywhere and my hair was frozen. It was an awesome adventure.

My dad was hitting me and he fell in love with the adrenaline rush. It was all born there. I went to the 50-miler in Bald Head Island in North Carolina. It’s called Badwater Cape Fear and I met a lot of cool people there. That solidified where I belong. The ultramarathon community is a niche but a tight community. People are encouraging like, “You’ve done 100 miles.” I got to sit down and right as I crossed the finish line, I looked at my dad and said, “I can do 100 miles.” Being a student at Drexel, it’s unusual but interesting. I go to school for six months and then I will co-op. I work full-time for six months.

In spring and summer, I work full-time with a company out in south at Kingwood, which is right outside the city. I had a lot of spare time on my hands after work so what else was I going to do? Sit around in the city and play video games? I had nothing better to do so I might as well exercise and started going further. I felt like I was confident with how I was building my training schedule and having three hours after work, I go and run. It was easy. It was a little mentally uneasy because I felt like I was always doing this running. All my friends were asking me, “Why don’t you come out? Why don’t you hang out with us?”

I’ve been following Cam Hanes for a while because I’m a big hunter and I loved his mentality. He started talking about the Moab 240 on Joe Rogan’s podcast. I’ve searched for it and I was like, “This is awesome.” I talked to my family and friends and I’ve got a lot of people’s opinions and I told him, “I couldn’t let October 13th go past without me telling that start line.” I said that to my mom and grandfather and they were like, “Then do it.” What’s the worst that could happen when you go there is you fail. You won’t make it a couple of 100 miles or 150 miles. I had the support of my whole family and my dad who’s willing to come out and do this with me. I stuck my head down and trained super hard from May until early September. It’s tough.

It was definitely something you have to put the work in but I’m the kind of person that if I see a road ahead of me, I know to take this step and take this road and you will get to here, I’m confident with that. I don’t like uncertainty. This is something where I could set up a training plan. I can follow through with that training plan and I can go into a race confidently that I’m going to succeed and that’s exactly what I did. Being a student was just one part of it. This is the time my life worked out. It’s nice being in the minority. The other people that are running this race were all late 30s and 40s. There are some 60-year-old, too. That’s what my past couple of months of my life has been like.

WTR Lange | Mental Endurance

He is the youngest to finish that race. Is that correct?

Yes.

We were talking about the mental aspect and physiology, but you were sharing with me that ultramarathoners and people that are going distances get better with age. Here you are at twenty years old and it’s scary. Where the heck are you going to go?

My dad is friends with an ultrarunner and he told him that I was going to do this and the guy was like, “That’s insane. Your body can’t withstand that. I was like, “I don’t care. I’m going to try and put my best foot. Age is just a number at this point for me. I don’t have the experience but I listen to podcasts, read books and talk to as many people as I could to gain as much experience that I have. It worked out and I’m a big believer that if you put in the work, there’s nothing that could get in your way. I live that philosophy into the race and it succeeded for me.

What does this all have to do with the show? One, I told you how this came to be because I was intrigued by what Ryan accomplished. If you think back on what he just said, he trains. You’ve got to practice with your bow depending on where you’re hunting and what you’re hunting and better get in shape. Three, it’s the mental part of the hunt that’s the hardest, in my opinion. Somebody might say, “That’s no big deal,” but to me, the mental aspect helps you close the deal, helps you get through that snowstorm, flood, fire or avalanche. They happen every year and happen in any place. Stuff happens and if you’re not mentally prepared, then you’re screwed. Your thoughts, Ryan?

I said to people that this race was a 100% mental fight. You can get yourself in good enough physical shape to want to attempt but mentally and knowing your body, when something goes wrong, how are you going to respond? My CamelBak bladder froze at about mile 110-ish in the middle of the night. It’s very tough not to sit there and freak out about not having water for the next five miles which would take me a good two hours with some climb in it. I totally agree, you could be the strongest man in the world but if you have no mental strength, it almost becomes useless.

Since you’ve done this, how was your outlook on your life? Twenty-something years old and you’ve got 80 years ahead of you, plus or minus. What’s this going to do for you?

The first half of us on the airplane coming back and I had a lot of time ahead of me. I missed that four-week school and I didn’t want to write down these note cards to be studying but it was like, “You just ran 240 miles. You can do whatever you want. Sit down and get it done.” I had to finish my note cards for an hour on the plane and it’s relieving. I want to have my back pocket to always go to, “You can do this. You ran 240 miles. What are you complaining about?” Having that experience in the back of my head is something that’s what I wanted for a while but didn’t know how to find an avenue to it until I found running and ultramarathon running. The most important muscle in the body which is the brain and I think a lot of people neglect that. Continuing to build that muscle helps build a stress-free life as well. You go through tough experience or something that’s persistent pain for a couple of days. There’s not much that’s going to bother you as easy as it did before because your brain is familiar with that pain. There’s not a lot of stuff for things or events affected to be on the same level of that persistent pain.

I’m visualizing. I’ve been in some of the countries that you’ve run and I’m going, “It’s 240 miles.” Are you in Philadelphia?

That was in Philadelphia. I live in South Jersey. That’s where I go home and hunt. I live on thirteen acres of land. We have some stand set up. It’s great.

If you put in the work, there's nothing that could really get in your way. Click To Tweet

I’m trying to fix this for our readers. We’re on the East Coast of Southern New Jersey. From your house all the way down, you’ve got to be into Carolinas for 240 miles, isn’t it?

Yeah, I measured it out and it’s like from Richmond, Virginia and my house is 240 miles.

Google that sometime. How many days did that take you?

It took me over three. It will be 86 hours and 12 minutes.

A little bit of time. How much did you sleep?

I slept for 6.5 hours. On the first night, I took a ten-minute trail nap in my Divvy sack which is a big sack made out of tin foil to give me a little warmth for that ten minutes. You don’t fully go to sleep just enough to get a quick recharge of the brain so that your eyes are open to look down the trail. I did another one of those the next day and I took a one-hour nap in the afternoon of day two then a two-hour nap on the late night of night two. Another ten minutes trail nap that late morning and then a three-hour nap the last morning, which was that a three-hour nap is more. I’m complaining about the cold and wanting to get into a warm cot. I could have gone to and finished. You’ll be surprised at how much your body wakes up from a quick ten minutes of sleep and how much you can keep going from a full two-hour nap. In day-to-day life, you can’t do that. If you’re going to just do that for a couple of days, your body is able to stay intact. Your brain is able to be there until the hallucinations hit then you start that fun, but it gets a little weird.

Did you have anything else non-pharmaceutical herbal for hallucinations because of sleep deprivation?

Yeah. I definitely did. It was something I was chasing and I was talking to my pacer about it. Before the race, hallucinations without drugs is a win-win. The first hallucination that I had was before I took my 1.5-hour nap of day two. I was close to an aid station and I thought I saw a dog in the distance. I was like, “Someone’s dog ran down the trail.” It’s getting closer and it looks like it’s staring at me frozen in the trail. I was saying, “Here doggy,” and it wasn’t moving. When you play with the dog, it’s woofing and it jumps around so I found myself woofing at this non-existent dog, which when I got ten feet close to it, it was a black blob that looks like a dog in the distance according to me. I started laughing at myself because I’m like, “This is it. I am experiencing it.”

It’s all there in our minds. Going back to the mind, “I was just tired. I need some comic relief.” Did you eat at all?

Yeah, you need to constantly be eating. I was always carrying a lot of what’s called fuel energy gels and a little hundred calorie packages gel, which is easily digestible but going for over three days, you need to consume real food as well. I was consuming a lot of bacon cheeseburgers and a lot of quesadillas. I tried to do breakfast burritos here and there but the eggs got my stomach a little bit. Anything that they had that looked appealing that your body’s going to crave what you want. In the beginning, I was taking way too much salt. I got to the aid stations and I couldn’t stand to like to taste quesadilla or something at that point. All I wanted was sweet tap water but you have to be eating. Towards the end, I felt the lack of energy because I didn’t eat enough the last day. If you eat a lot of food and you’re running around, your stomach is going to be a pain. If you have a steady streamline of nutrition coming every hour, I try to be taking a good amount of food, 200 to 300 calories. You have to be or else you’re not going to succeed no matter how good of a runner you think you are. If you are not constantly drinking energy or eating energy, your body is not going to be able to hold off.

Your pit stops where your dad was waiting for it. Are they 20, 25 or 50 miles apart? I don’t have any idea.

WTR Lange | Mental Endurance

Some of them were fifteen and some of them were eighteen. You have a lot of time. The longest one was a 21-mile stretch, but it was flat. Realistically, it’s taking you just as long as a fifteen-mile stretch that goes up and down. The very tough parts are the full canyons that took me 9.5 hours. In the middle of the night, I was in need of sleep. I’m falling asleep on my feet. That’s why I took one of my trail naps and I tried to put them in a good equal distance apart from each other, but it’s tough with the elevation.

What have we learned so far from Ryan? One, you’ve got to train. Two, mental endurance and three, if you’re hiking every couple of hours at altitude, it doesn’t matter where you’re hiking, if you’re burning calories, replace them continually. Don’t wait for lunchtime when that big sandwich that you pack, peanut butter and jelly and the other thing is a hydrate. That’ll get you through any situation in my opinion, Ryan?

Yes. When I was starting the race, I asked people, “What do I do?” The one guy said to me, “If you’re hydrating right and you’re eating right, you might be in a lot of pain but the demons aren’t going to get you then because your stomach and brain are still okay.”

You listen to a lot of podcasts, campaigns and you met a gazillion other guys and gals through this journey. Your journey is just beginning. Where’s your future? Where’s your brand? How are you going to create your brand?

That’s a tough question that I’ve been thinking about even before the race. “If I completed this, where is it going to take me?” It’s hard. You’ve got to find your niche market. I can’t find this in hunting so I don’t know where mine is. I love being the center of influence for people. I get a high of people saying, “Because Ryan Lange did this, I did this. Because Ryan Lange didn’t quit, I didn’t quit.” I’m still in school. They’re still trying to figure out how can I do something like this in the corporate world. It’s tough. It’s all I think about all the time every day, “What’s the next step for me? Where can I take this? Is this something that I can do maybe become very good at hunting?” I wanted to venture out, go to the backcountry, going out camping and go bow hunting trips and multiple-day trips. I don’t know where my brain spins at. I don’t know where my future is and what it holds but I’m in the process of trying to figure that out.

You’re at a great university. There’s going to be some marketing people. Social media can take anybody now without huge advertising budgets on TV, radio, print and all of that. People don’t need that anymore. You don’t need that and it’s a matter of keeping true to yourself. I was smiling when you said Corporate America. I’d hate to see you in Corporate America because you’ll intimidate the crap out of everybody. There’s a lot of truth to what I just said because people will go, “At twenty, that guy did that? How can I compete with that?” You know the story but that’s a truism. On the other side of that, you can go to corporations and say, “I can help to take your people and turn them up a notch. Here’s how I do it.” A lot of people do that but you’ve got credentials that nobody can ever take away from you. That’s exciting.

It’s something that I’m still definitely settling into it, how I see what I’ve done and apply that to my future. It’s tough to think about because there are not many people to go to. That’s why I tried to talk to Cam a little bit but I wish I had more time on my hands to ask him. How does he take his life into the next level and into the future? I know he markets himself on Instagram, YouTube and such but it’s not easy to do. That’s why there are not a lot of people that are a big brand.

Cam is a perfect example. He pushed his body, he loved to hunt and then he rides. The more he pushes the body, the more he went into fitness. All the people watching how Cam Hanes hunted and where he hunted is remarkable. All of that took time. Now, he’s a great ambassador because he took the time to talk to you and he talks to people that are serious. He’s out there helping people grow, in my opinion. I don’t know the gentleman. I’ve never talked to him but I viewed him. I’ve seen his posts and what he’s done. Ergo, how he was blown away by you. That’s why I reached out to you, “I’ve got to talk to this kid.”

I’m figuring it out and trying to be on this podcast. What you’re saying to me is further helping me just talking to you because you’ve created a very good brand with the show. I’m still at the end of my celebration mode from the race.

That’ll never end.

You could be the strongest man in the world but if you have no mental strength, it almost becomes useless. Click To Tweet

I’m going to start thinking about what’s next. I’m the kind of person that needs to be working towards something, somehow.

What’s your major?

My major is Finance and Real Estate Development and Management.

I’m thinking if you came to me and said, “Where should I go now?” Social media MBA, that’s got to be someplace that teaches that and you don’t have to go to Wharton to do that. Social media MBA takes all the drivers from all the stuff. Believe it or not, social media is as small as it ever is going to be right now. It’s expanding. I did some dot-com stuff and you can see these brick and mortar buildings. You’ll realize several years down the road, a person or business is going to come from eCommerce, from websites and all the other stuff. Inventories didn’t need a store. They just build warehouses. In talking to you, I’m thinking, “Why would I do that?” You start framing what you love to do and then start packaging it. You’ve already done it.

Talk to your friends, neighbors, grandpa, grandma, whole family, buddies from school and gals from school and say, “We’re going to create a white paper. We’re going to create a case study and I’m the guy but here’s the deal. When this thing takes off, everybody’s going to get friends and family stock or whatever options.” You give everybody a little love and then you create your own company. It might not be called Ryan Lange but it might be 240. That’s a perfect one. Company 240 because people are going to be like, “240 what?” Let me tell you the story. If anybody steals that, I’m going to come to your house and tell the rest of the story. That’s Ryan’s. It’s some huge things and then you build it out. You take all your skills, your drive and your abilities because you far outstrip some 56-year-olds because many people would never do what you did.

There are a lot more people that could do what I do, but it’s putting in the work and executing it. All my friends are like, “How did you do this?” I’m like, “I’m just a man that put in the work.” It all comes down to it. My family’s motto is persistence and determination. No matter how strong, smart and fast the competitors are, the man that works the hardest is usually the man that’s going to win. The man that wants the most, that’s going to come out on top and that’s where I’m at is where I was at with this race. I put in hard work and I succeeded. I have to figure out how to translate this and how to move the hard work that I have and moving this into the real world. Hearing what you have to say has already stimulated some thoughts and it’s good stuff.

Thank you and I’m here to help you. You know how to get ahold of me. I don’t charge $1,000 an hour. A guy once asked me, “What do you charge an hour?” I said, “A $1,000 plus expenses.” He goes, “What? Nobody’s worth that.” I said, “I am.” Back in the day, I had a lot of fun and I still do. There is no question about it. In all seriousness, if you have any questions, Ryan, you know how to get ahold of me. Ring me up if you want to talk on the phone. That’s good because to invest in people like you is huge because the lives that you’re going to touch between now and my age, is going to be astronomical. You’re going to look back and go, “Why did that happen?” You, your father, family and other friends know why it happened but people are just going to marvel because you have something tremendously and inherently powerful.

Thank you. It’s awesome to hear it coming from you. I think you’re talking me up a little bit but it’s great to hear you say that. I hope to do what you’re saying. That’s what my goal in life and that’s where my calling is to help people realize what their potential is and I’m just the average dude. Putting in the hard work and I have a lot of potentials. I feel that there’s some way that I could help other people realize that.

I’m not talking you up. There’s nothing in it for me except seeing a young man like you begin their journey and realize the tremendous potential that they have. Any last comments? Why don’t you get some shout-outs to the race directors or whoever you met along the trail?

Candice Burt is the lady that ran the race. She does all three, the Bigfoot Tahoe and Moab 200. The planning and the work that goes behind it is insane. My dad walked into the communications room and he was blown away by it. He works in the communications field. It’s hard work that gave me the chance to do something like this and I can’t thank her enough. She’s a good lady and she’s nice. I went to an ultrarunning camp for a four-day weekend at CTS. I train with coach Jason Koop who wrote a book, Training Essentials for Ultrarunning. I won’t be in the position I am right now without him because he taught me how to figure out my body. He gave me everything I need to know about ultrarunning. My dad came to Moab chasing around with F-150 for eight days and took off work.

WTR Lange | Mental Endurance

It’s tough to find people that are willing to do that for you. There are a lot more people that I wouldn’t be in this position I am without them, but those three people are big inspirations in my life. Cam Hanes is the reason. The guy has started me on trying to find my full potential and realizing that most things in life are just all mental. Thank you. I appreciate you bringing me on the show. I’ve been reading it and I enjoy it. It’s a great thing to be running, too. It’s perfect close to an hour. I’ve got a podcast to a man I knew from elsewhere. I appreciate you coming on your show and the words you had to say for me made me feel good and start to think a lot more on how to bring a brand. You have a lot of new words and you’re definitely someone that I’m going to keep in contact with.

Ryan, it’s my pleasure. On behalf of thousands of readers and we’re going to crack 200,000 people following my show. I was talking to my partner and I go, “Do you believe it? We filled Lambeau Field three times with readers of the blog.” That blew me away.

That’s a lot of people.

It is and I’ve been in Lambeau a bunch of times so I know where they sit. I digress, that’s the exciting part of what digital technology, social media and all the things are thrown in recreating things now that would never be possible a few years ago. With that, Ryan Lange, thank you for being a guest on the show.

Thank you.

We’re heading down to Louisiana. We’re going to meet up with Gem Ceasar. Gem is a nineteen-year-old passionate whitetail hunter. As you know, you can kill multiple bucks and does in Louisiana. Every year, Gem does his best to fill his tags. More than that, at age nineteen, he’s got to handle on a lot of things that some people struggle with such as hunting for food. We get the bone, how to prepare and how to be on your game every time you get in the treestand. The other thing is that he understands the whitetail deer and he’s going to share some of his secrets with us.

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About Ryan Lange

WTR Lange | Mental EnduranceMy name is Ryan Lange, I am a 21 year old student at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA majoring in real estate development & management. I am a passionate about electronic dance music and the energy it brings. In my spare time, I enjoy mixing music and playing at parties. I am also an avid hunter and outdoors-man as well.

I fell in love with running on the Schuylkill river which runs north of Philadelphia.  Running became religious for me in the summer of 2016 which led to my first marathon in November 2016. I ran my first trail race, a 50k, in January of 2017. In March of 2017, I traveled to North Carolina to run in Bad Water Cape Fear (50 miler). After Cape Fear, I ramped up my training and traveled to Akron, Ohio to run the Canal Corridor 100 in July 2017.  In October 2017, I successfully completed the Moab 240. Stemming off of these races, I have completed a multitude of other 50-milers, an extremely tough 100 Miler in the Ultra Trail Guadaloupe, and the Tahoe 200. Outside of running, I started a business selling outdoor gear and apparel name GenZ Inc.

I tell everyone I’m truly nothing but average. My accomplishments stem from persistence, determination, commitment, and passion. Along with building physical endurance, I emphasize that mental toughness is omnipotent and can benefit anyone in all aspects of life. I believe that average people can attain insane accomplishments if they truly believe in themselves and put in the hard work.

Moab200.com is a 238 mile footrace through desert, 2 mountain ranges, slick rock, canyons, and some of the most legendary terrain and trails in the world in world class destinations around Moab, Utah! Surrounded by Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, this is an adventure of a lifetime.

This is a solo non-stop footrace, not a relay or stage race. Runners have 112 hrs to complete the fully marked course. Aid stations, crew access, sleep stations, hot food make this race one of a kind. The route is one enormous loop, no repetition. Brought to you by Destination Trail team, organizers of the Tahoe 200 & Bigfoot 200.