#153-Going the Distance With Scott Wells
John (Intro): I have been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good. After running companies small and large for the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic: What makes the best leaders so good? Welcome to Tomorrow’s Leader.
John: All right, welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dove deep on all things leader-related, related to leading yourself and leading others. I’m John Laurito, your host. Really excited. This is one of our very rare opportunities to do a live in-person interview. I’m here with Scott Wells. Scott, thank you for joining us.
Scott: Yeah, thanks for having me. Yeah.
John: Yeah. So Scott and I got a chance to meet not long ago through a mutual friend, and I was fascinated by his story, and that’s why I’ve invited him on. I know you’re going to love him and I really appreciate your time today. So, Scott, I just kind of dive into it. I mean, you’ve done some pretty amazing things physically in your life, and you don’t want to spoiler alert here, but your biggest accomplishment was you ran 100 miles in an ultra marathon. Is that what they call it, an ultra marathon?
Scott: An ultramarathon, which is 100 miles. I wouldn’t say it was running, but it was on foot.
John: That’s unreal. So before we get into that, because I want to, like, talk about a lot of stuff, because that’s just unbelievable to me. When did you get involved in running? What kind of when you get bit by bit by the bug?
Scott: Yeah, well, it was when we moved to North Carolina in 2007, I just finished residency and came down here to work and just needed to get some physical activity, is just spent all that time in school and additional training at work. And, you know, I needed an outlet. Yeah. And so at the time where we lived, our next door neighbor, she was a personal trainer and she was really into, you know, running and, you know, she’s going to do a triathlon. And so I was like, all right, that sounds good. And so I signed up and I just got into running and biking and really it was ugh.
John: So it was a triathlon at first. That really kind of motivated you. Did you know when you first started running, like did you know you had kind of some really unique abilities because that’s not an average person’s capability to run and accomplish as much as you have.
Scott: So, you know, it can be. I didn’t, you know, start running back then, I wasn’t in great shape. I wasn’t out of shape or anything, I mean, out that, you know, it wasn’t like I had to lose a lot of weight or anything. So I was OK starting. But still, I like to run a mile. It was hard.
John: Was it really, when you started? So a mile was hard. Yeah. Wow.
Scott: I had a two-mile loop in the neighborhood and that’s what I would start with. And then just kind of built from there.
John: Well, that’s good to know. That gives me some hope. So because I feel like somebody like yourself, you just you’re wired or you’re built the way to run super long distances, but not not the case for, you
Scott: Not the case at all. Like, run. I think running is hard. I’d much rather be on a bike. That’s that. That’s easier for me. I still think running is difficult.
John: So is your true passion for biking? Is that the thing?
Scott: It is, yeah, yeah, yeah. I’d prefer to be on a mountain bike.
John: So you did your first triathlon, which was what was it, a sprint or an Olympic or what level was
Scott: It was like a half iron.
John: Your first triathlon was a half or so for the audience that doesn’t know what an iron man is or how far that is, can you explain that?
Scott: It’s so half Ironman is a 1.2-mile swim, 70.3-mile bike, and then a half marathon, 13.1-mile run. And so full Ironman is twice that. So 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and then a full marathon, 26.2 miles.
John: Wow. So your first triathlon was a half Ironman. And what was that? How much training did you do for that? How long were you preparing?
Scott: I mean, I forget how much I did for that one, but I probably spent several months. It was like a meh race, a small one here in North Carolina. North Carolina. Yeah, down towards the coast at White Lake. And so I actually remember the first long ride I went out on was with this neighbor. I went with her and one of her friends, and we did maybe forty miles one day on a bike ride. And I didn’t really know what I was getting into that much. And so I’m riding along behind and probably pretty far behind them, most of the way trying to keep up and then, you know, maybe middle of the ride. We come to a stop sign and they’re like, how are you doing? I’m like, all right. And they’re like, are you eating enough? And I’m like. Eating, supposed to be eating.
John: Should I have a sandwich with me, a hoagie?
Scott: I didn’t know I was supposed to be taking any nutrition. I mean, I’ve got a water bottle with me, so, you know, I limped home at the end of that ride. I was way back dragging, going in. And I was like, wow, this is going to be hard.
John: So what are you supposed to eat during, like, a long ride like that? Is that the good packets or is it like various things?
Scott: But yeah, I mean, something, something that put something, even if it’s just Gatorade or some sort of sports drink, you don’t need to take in some calories if you’re out there for a while. Oh yeah. And I didn’t really.
John: So 40-mile bike ride. How long is that taken here? A couple of hours?
Scott: You know, that day was probably two and a half or three. And most days it might be two hours or so.
John: How much does nutrition, actually two questions. Nutrition during the race. How much does that play a part and then how much does nutrition like leading up to the race and just general good health, good nutrition play a part?
Scott: I mean, I think depending on who you ask, it plays a big role. I think the longer the race, the more important it is. Definitely. You got to stay on top of the calories. If it’s a short race, you know, if it’s under two hours, probably less of a big deal. But the long race is you got to stay on top of that. You know, everyday life. I mean, I’m sure it’s important. And that’s kind of the generic answer. Yeah. I mean, I’m not strict or you’re not. No, I don’t have the best nutrition and I could do a lot better.
John: Well, that’s good. That gives me something. I like this. I thought you’d be maybe like this super like only eating like celery sticks and like, you know, carrots and green dirt. No twigs.
Scott: No, I probably should be. And I think I would aspire to that, but I don’t. John: Yeah, well, that’s good. So you got balance.
Scott: Oh yeah. Yeah I and I think it was probably stricter about things in the early years. Yeah. I was, I calculated things more in recent years. Now it’s more about I just want to have fun and just enjoy it. And so yeah if I want to have a beer the night before a race I’m going to have a beer the night before a race. But good. Whatever.
John: Not as so were you when you’re racing. Is it, are you competing for a place, are you competing against the other athletes. Are you more competing against yourself?
Scott: Again, it depends on the race. I think I’ve done everything, there are some races where I’ve been competing to maybe try and win, and that would be like some of the shorter, smaller local races. Like, I can’t, I’m not good enough to win. Yeah, like big bangs. Most of the time it’s been going in with a time goal, like, here’s what I want to do as a personal time. Yeah. And then there’s been other events where I’ve got like two or three buddies and we’re going to just do this one together. We’re going to stick together and just try and get through this thing. Yeah, and I’ve done that with. My wife as well. Oh, yeah, we dagi long races together and just stuck together.
John: That’s great. So what once have you done, how far have you gone together?
Scott: Last year we did Pilot Mountain Marathon. And so it’s basically up and down and around Pilot Mountain twice. So she and I did that and we just stuck together the whole time
and had a great day of it. We weren’t competing for any sort of place or time. It was just let’s go out there and do this. It’ll be fun.
John: And that’s great. And do you train together, too, for that?
Scott: For stuff like that, we did some you know, when things aligned and we could go out and run together. We would.
John: So who are you competitive with each other?
Scott: No, not really.
John: No, that’s good that you support each other. Is she your accountability partner?
Scott: At times, yeah, yeah, it’s funny, like one of her things before I go out and like race or even if I was like come into this today, her thing would be like, don’t embarrass me out there and giving you good words of a good year. And I’m wearing this. I’ve already failed at that. So that’s I’m sure.
John: It’s alright. 98% of the listeners listen to this, they don’t watch this.
Scott: That’s OK. Yeah. So that’s her big thing. And even some of her friends joke about it. Don’t embarrass Maggie out there.
John: That’s funny.
Scott: You know, I can remember at times in one of the mountain bike races, I did a 60-mile mountain bike race off-road assault on Mount Mitchell. And I’m like 35 miles into this thing out in the mountains in the middle of nowhere out.
John: And this is a mountain bike.
Scott: This is a mountain bike. Yeah. And I’m just miserable beat down, like just climbing these never-ending climbs. And I was just like, oh, I wonder what Maggie would think if I quit. I mean, you can’t quit at that point, there’s nowhere to go except getting back to the finish line. But that was like the first time I ever thought about that. And I was like, what came to mind is just that. Yeah. When would she think, what would you do?
Scott: Yes. So that and, you know, this last race, the 100-mile race, she pretty much carried me through the second half.
John: So just back to the mountain bike for a minute. I mean, like a 60-mile mountain bike over tough terrain, I’m assuming, like so I did Umstead, which is 13 miles, and that was a beast for me. So I can’t even know that that’s now for me. Relative to that, I can’t even imagine that. Is that harder in some respects than doing what’s harder? Like a marathon just a flat-out race of 26 miles or a bike ride that’s like that mountain bike of 60 miles.
Scott: That mountain bike race is probably one of the most difficult things to get through from just survivability really point, I think, yeah, he’s never-ending climbs and then these really narrow ridgeline technical descents, so it’s just absolutely beat you up. Wow. I think
probably the worst quad cramps I’ve ever had in my life were actually coming downhill where I wasn’t even pedaling. But I had to physically stop my bike because my quads cramped up, my forearms were beat. That’s coming downhill. And so that yeah, that one that one’s really tough.
John: People get hurt in those things like they’re falling off. I mean, I’ve seen somewhere it’s you’re on the edge of almost like a cliff. Yeah.
Scott: I don’t know. There’s anything like a cliff, we’re going to fall off a cliff, but it is a narrow ridgeline. And if you do go off the trail, you can get going. So a little ways. Yeah, my buddy’s got an ambulance right out of that race one time.
John: So how have you gotten any? Have you had really nasty spills in any of your races?
Scott: Nothing that required like hospitalization. No, I mean, I Medi-vacced. I’ve hurt my shoulder. I’ve lost a lot of skin, you know, some blood to the trail, that sort of thing.
John: But it’s like a badge of honor, though, I guess, right?
Scott: Yeah, a little bit. It’s just part of mountain biking. If you ride and yeah. It’s just one of those things like you get into it and you just want to try something a little bit harder and harder. And you know you’re going to. You’re going to take some spills.
John: Is that what it is? Are you motivated by trying something harder than you did something before?
Scott: I think that’s a lot of it. I’ve got just a couple of friends that we just. We just sit around and we talk about, well, what’s the next bad idea, you know, really? And we just don’t know. It’s just fun to go out and just try and see what we can do.
John: Yeah, is that how you got to the boys? So what was the order of stuff that you did? Did you do The Iron Man first and then you did the 100 miles or what?
Scott: Yeah, it was straight up triathlons in the beginning. And so that first year I got into triathlons, you know, I got that, that half iron distance and I did a couple of shorter ones. And then I really just knew at that point, like, I want to do an Ironman race. And so I signed up and went out and did a marathon to just kind of prove myself that I could do a marathon. So I went and ran a marathon.
John: What kind of time did you get in the marathon?
Scott: My goal was to break four hours and I did 359. Yeah, I just sprint out the finish, which was awful. I like to finish it about a quarter mile further than what my watch that it was going to be as I bring it out at the end. But yeah, so good for myself. I could do it. And I mean that’s really the only marathon I’ve ever done. Like a road marathon. Besides Ironman marathons. And so then I went and signed up for my first Ironman.
John: And were you nervous going into that? Like, I mean, that’s a major jump.
Scott: Yes and no. I mean, at that point, it’s just you just get this friend group and you just it becomes. Not it doesn’t seem like a goal that’s unachievable because you’re kind of surrounding yourself with people who do these things. It’s just like, well, I can do that. They’re doing it and I can do it. I just have to figure out how and just have to work towards it. So, yeah, I signed up for it. And I didn’t tell my wife I signed up for it.
Scott: Well, I mean, it’s easier to get forgiveness than permission.
John: Yeah. I mean, did you think she would not want you to do it or she would want to? Scott: She’s worried about the time commitment.
John: Oh, you’re training. Yeah, understandably.
Scott: Oh, yeah. And that and that was always a you know, for years that was a bit of a I guess, point of contention is just now because it is a little bit of a selfish sport. I mean, you spend a lot of time out there. How much time I’m making. Women peak weeks. You can be 15 to 17 hours. Wow. Out there, you know, you’re either running or go out on the bike and do a five, six hour ride and then you get home and then you run five or ten miles. Oh, she’s so there is a time commitment to it and yeah. You know, got kids, but then she got into it too. We actually did an Ironman together. We didn’t know about our own race but we both did. So she got into it too. And that made it a lot easier because it became
John: Joint training like your pet. And did you do that, did you train together and go out on rides together and stuff like that?
Scott: No, she had her friend group. And I had mine. So we were able to do that. So yeah the triathlon came first and that became sort of a passion and then I always had. Well, I got to get a time goal. Yeah. And this is the time that I want to break for an Iron Man and it took
me like four tries to finally get there and I finally did it and wow. Then a friend introduced me to mountain biking. And that became a passion now running was always a thing. Yeah, throughout this. And so mountain biking was big for a while and still is. It’s still sort of my favorite thing.
John: Yeah, yeah.
Scott: But running was always there and we kind of moved from road running to trail running.
John: Which do you like better to like trailering?
Scott: It’s more interesting. Yeah, I do like trail running a lot better.
John: It’s easier on your body,
Scott: It’s easier on your body, but yeah, it can be harder on your body if you get a lot of uneven surfaces. So I think you’re using a lot of different muscles. But as far as impact wise, which I learned from this 100 mile race on pavement, the trail is much better.
John: The 100 mile race was all on the pavement? Oh my goodness. All right, let’s talk about this. This was the thing that just intrigued me the most. So talk us through. Like what? What is that race like? I mean, I can’t even imagine what is it like?
Scott: Yeah, so, I mean, I didn’t know what to expect going into this, my longest run was a 50 miler and I did that with a couple of my friends, like we all signed up for a 100 mile race. Mm hmm. Back in September. So we’re like, all right, this is what we’re going to do. We’re
going to go ahead and do it. We’re going to sign up. We all try to get into the local one here at Umstead. OK, but that’s a lottery. So we all went into the lottery. My two buddies got into that one and I didn’t get in. Oh, it’s like, oh, man. Like we’re going to train together. And I didn’t get in, so what am I going to do? So I went hunting there. Another race that I can sign up for around the same time so we can still run through the winter together and train. And so I found this one in the Outer Banks the same day as they weren’t really the same exact day. Yeah. So I’m like, I’ll sign up for that one. It’s completely flat, 100% pavement.
John: Is it just up and down the outer banks?
Scott: One end to the other, which I didn’t realize. The Outer Banks is 100 miles from Corolla to Hatteras. It’s 100 miles.
John: Oh my gosh. I never would have guessed.
Scott: Yeah, I wouldn’t have either. But yeah, I looked at the map of the. Yeah, I guess it is 100 miles. Wow.
John: OK, it’s interesting.
Scott: So I signed up for it and we’re training through the winter. We decided to go out and one of our longest runs was a 50 miler. One of my buddies, he tore his Achilles during that run. And then my other body, he was starting his own business this year and he opened the gym. And that got delayed just to the time that it was going to make it impossible for him, for him to finish training appropriately. So both of them had to back out of their race. So I kind of ended up being the only one.
John: But you still did the Outer Banks?
Scott: Well, I couldn’t switch. That’s not it wasn’t it. So yeah I went and the Outer Banks won the race again. You know I hear stories, you know, you try and do some research like what’s this going to be like. You know, I’ve never run more than 50 miles and I felt pretty beat down after that 50-mile run. I’m like, well what’s it going to be.
John: Did you have with the 50-mile run, did you feel like you had any gas in the tank at all to keep going, or were you just exhausted? Oh, sore.
Scott: Yeah, yeah. Because of that 50-mile run we did we did it around here and it was on pavement, so my feet hurt. Well that, that might become a problem. And now my muscles are sore but I didn’t feel like we were completely out of gas and I just, I can’t walk anymore because that’s also the thing is like I always felt like, all right, if I can’t run, I can walk. And I can walk fifteen or sixteen-minute miles and I felt like that would be pretty easy. So I was
like, worst-case scenario is I’ll end up walking and if I end up walking at this pace I’m still going to do well.
Scott: And yeah. And I mean it turns out that’s not the case I’ll get to but so yeah. That race. Someone told me the halfway point of 100 milers is like 70 or 75 miles.
John: Oh, yeah, I get it.
Scott: Oh, OK. All right, we’ll see.
John: So the last of the last 25 or 30 miles is as hard as the first 70, 75.
Scott: So that’s what I heard going into it from people. And I’ve heard that’s about where a lot of people quit is around that 75-mile point. Yeah, I know of a couple of people that have had to quit, and it’s usually around that point. So I have no idea what it feels like at that point. And so, you know, going along that day, it was just a beautiful day to start. And we start at 5 a.m. It was clear, stars were out, no wind. It’s like 55 degrees like it’s just perfect running weather.
Scott: Perfect. And we started and the tricky thing with this course was that pacing was a little bit challenging early. You know, from an ultra standpoint, you know, whenever I’ve done other long trail races, if you go uphill, you walk in. If you’re going flat or downhill, you run. And so it kind of there’s natural pacing of where you’re going to walk and where you’re going to run, but when it’s all flat. Well, where am I going to walk? So I have to do it by either distance or time. And so I figured, you know, and I worked on it in training a bit. But I started off as I ran two miles and walked a mile. Yeah. And that worked out pretty well. And then around mile 20 or so I forget exactly where.
Scott: But somewhere in there I was like, well, I’m going to back that off a little bit. And then I was running at one mile, walking a half-mile just and that seemed to be a sweet spot. And I was able to carry that. For a pretty long time. And I felt good. My wife jumped in and ran five miles with me. So you’re allowed to have a pacer for these races, OK? Yeah. So you’re allowed to have one person with you for this race. You can have a pacer throughout the entire race if you want some races, they don’t allow it until the second fifty miles. I got it. But this one, you could have it throughout. So it was like in the Nagshead area. Maggie jumped in and ran a few miles with me from my one aid station to the next day my daughter jumped in. She did like mile 40 to 45. Oh, that’s with me.
Scott: So she jumped in and I had slowed the pace down a little bit at that point where I was doing it more by time. Like I’d run a minute and then walk three or four minutes, run a minute, walk three or four. And she did that with me for a few miles. Yeah. And I was still feeling good. you know, I’m right on pace actually under goal pace and going along. So the weather’s still perfect. I mean there’s a slight breeze off the ocean. They come in from the side, keeping you cool. The sun, the sun’s up. But then when it felt like it was getting too hot like the clouds rolled in, I mean, it was like, wow, perfect. For the first 50 miles.
Scott: So like I felt great through 50 miles. Like this is fun. Yeah. I’m smiling, having a great time and. Then, you know, it was getting dark, I got through 50 miles in somewhere around 11 hours, and so that’s why I like four o’clock in the afternoon there and I slowed down a bit after that. But I’m still running some around mile 60 and this is getting around 7:30 at night. He could see and we’re down on like the southern part of the outer banks where, you know,
well, like the south of the Oregon inlet and there’s not much down there. You got the sound on one side, the ocean on the other side. I can hear the ocean, but I can’t see it just because there’s a dune right there. But I can hear it the whole time. And it’s getting dusk. And you can see off to the sound on the right like we just see this, these storms rolling in and you can just see all this lightning.
Scott: And so we’re checking the phone and watching the radar and yeah, this one’s not going around like this is this is coming right at us. So when it was getting pretty close, right around dark, they did actually report that. All right, we’re close in the course and everybody, you know, get shelter. So, you know, we’ve got these Pasir vehicles. So my sister was driving a Pasir vehicle with my daughter and my wife. And so we jumped in the car at that point. And this was 50, 60. Yeah. And Maggie wanted me to keep going until the storm actually hit. And I’m at that point like now I just want to sit down.
John: You’re like, come on, Maggie.
Scott: I’m tired because now I’ve been going for 12, 13 hours at that point. And like so there might still be a race or that goes by. It’s like, look, they’re still out there.
John: Just like, that guy’s tough.
Scott: Exactly. She wanted me to keep going. Wow. And I wanted nothing more than to just sit down.
John: Yeah. Yeah.
Scott: I was tired and so we did. The storm rolled in and I ended up sitting in the car for about an hour and a half until they said the course is open again. Yeah, I fell asleep for maybe 30 minutes in the car.
John: Was that a good thing or is that like?
Scott: Well we debate about that a lot right now. Maggie thinks it’s a bad thing because I was still running some up until that point. I think it probably was a bad thing. at the time, I just wanted to sit down. I was beat. And I never could really get it together after that.
John: Oh, really?
Scott: Yeah. So from there on, you know, the last 40 miles ahead of me. I just couldn’t get it back together. I can’t really put my finger on exactly why. It was just exhaustion like nothing hurt. My feet hurt. They’re full of blisters and all that. But that’s not why I couldn’t run. I mean, I was running with that prior. But so about nine o’clock that night we, of course, is open again and we’re back on the road and so we’re just headed south towards Hatteras through the night. And overnight, just the weather changed after that storm went through. It’s just, there is this mist in the wind that we used to have kind of from our back is now this headwind. The
clouds, so there’s no stars out anymore and I can’t run them, so I’m doing the math because you have a lot of time to just think. I’m like, all right. How long is this going to take me to finish this current pace?
John: And where I had always thought, OK, well, I can walk a 15 or 16-minute mile. That’s not even a fast walk. I was like, I was getting them done in 20 minutes then that was a decent mile at that point. And so, you know, doing this math, right. I’m doing three miles an hour. I got 40 miles left. I mean, that’s like another 13, 14 hours, if I’m lucky. So that’s going to put me like eleven o’clock tomorrow if I can keep going. And it’s just like you look at that in front of you.
John: That’s unreal.
Scott: Like, I don’t know. Can I keep going? I’m beat. I’m tired, but I can still keep walking at that point. And so some pretty much after that storm went through, Maggie set out with me and from there until the finish line, either Maggie or my daughter was with me the entire time, that’s the last 40 miles. Wow, that’s one or the other. And so that was really cool because that kept me going. And, you know, getting into the miles, the 70s and the 80s, those were the worst. I can’t because you still have a lot of time ahead of you. But it’s like, all right, well, mile 75, I only got 25 miles left, but I still have 25 miles left and that’s going to be another eight or nine hours at my current pace. And it’s like 1:00 in the morning right now. And I’m yeah, I’m beat. I don’t feel like walking anymore. The weather’s now miserable. It was getting like it wasn’t fun anymore.
John: Were you just regretting that you even did it at that point or were you just what were you saying to yourself?
Scott: I wasn’t regretting it. I really just wanted, I just wanted to get done with it. I just wanted to finish. And like, part of me is like I just want to quit, but I like I’ve come this far. I just want to get done because I don’t want to have to do this again. I don’t want to go through all the training again for months and months and months because I got sick of running. And I don’t want to do all that again and then do and have to go through this again. And so like, you know, it’s like I sort of can see the finish line. I can’t really.
John: So you felt like you had to, you just had to keep going.
Scott: Yeah. And Maggie’s right there saying you have to keep going. You’re not doing this again.
John: Was your daughter pushing you like Maggie is?
Scott: Yeah. Now they’re both blessed with being able to talk and so they’re taking the entire time. Oh well, I don’t feel like talking and I don’t talk about it any way really. But they’re just talking the whole time and so they’re entertaining me and that’s cool. And you know, my daughter is full of energy. I think she was like pounding Monsters through the night. And so she’s just full of energy, you know, 3:00 in the morning. And she’s having a good all-time of it. But getting into probably the darkest point was like this stretch about mile 80 to 85. 3:00 a.m. It’s just a really narrow part of the Outer Banks right before. I don’t even know what it’s
between, but it’s before you get the fresco in Hatteras like I could literally throw a stone in the sound or you could turn this way and throw a stone in the ocean.
Scott: But not that I could see either of them. Yeah. Because it’s 3:00 in the morning now and like the road, it’s just this straight road, forward and backward like and at this point we can’t see anything. There’s no light, there’s no there’s not light off in the distance. You know, there’s no sign of life or existence. And I hadn’t seen a runner since nine o’clock that night. I hadn’t seen another competitor. Like, if I can you can look forward, you can look backward and you can like on a clear day, you probably can see for miles normally, but I don’t see a headlamp anywhere.
John: Were you even wondering if the race was still going on? I mean, how do you even know?
Scott: It was still going on because you would get like every now and then another Pacer’s vehicle somewhere. It’s like I know there are other people out here, but I never saw. I went ten hours and never saw another competitor. And so at this point in this mile, 80 to 85, we’ve got this 20 miles an hour headwind constantly coming at us with this mist. We can’t see anything forward or back because Maggie’s with me at this point. And all I can see is the 20 feet ahead of me that my headlamp is lighting up. And I’m just whipped. And it was just miserable like I just wanted to stop, like, I don’t know how far I still have to go. I mean, I can look at my watch and I know, like, I actually know the distance, but I don’t know where, I want to see a town. I want to get to something.
Scott: And like, you’ll see a light off in the distance ahead of you and like, OK, well, maybe that’s a town and then it gets brighter. And you see on now it’s headlamp headlights from a car and then you watch it come and it’s getting closer and closer. And then it goes by at about 60 miles an hour and you’re like, wow, wow. It took a while for it to get to us. So I know I at least have to go that far or be the other way like a car would go by us and we’re watching their tail lights just go off in the distance.
Scott: And playing games like mentally, I think I was just broken at that point. Like, I just wanted to like, quit or lay down and I just wanted it to be over. So Maggie’s walking in front of me and she’s like, I can’t sugarcoat it. Like this is terrible. Like I have nothing good to say right now about this. This is miserable. But you gotta keep going. Like this year you’re almost at mile 85 You know, she would just walk in front of me, like, right in front of me to try and block the wind. At one point, like jokingly she got behind me and was pushing me. And, you know, I started sobbing at one point. I couldn’t help it.
John: Yeah. Yeah.
Scott: I guess I just wanted this to be over with.
John: Just I would have started sobbing at like mile five, you know,
Scott: It was like it was just, I couldn’t control it. I’ve never, I just think it was just like emotionally and mentally. I just wanted it to be done.
John: So what did it feel like when you finally, you know, started getting closer and what could you actually see at the finish line. What was that like?
Scott: Like I wanted sunrise and I wanted to get to the Hatteras Lighthouse. Because we went we did like in and out and back into the Hatteras Lighthouse area. And so we got to that area at sunrise and then my daughter was with me at that point and we went in and there is just enough for that as we’re going in there and we could see this, you know, Hatteras Lighthouse, which is a pretty impressive thing. You could barely see the light at the top because of the fog. It was pretty cool to see that in the early morning. And I was really happy to get to Hatteras and see the lighthouse. But we still like ten miles to go.
Scott: And normally like a ten-mile run like that was like a short training run at that point. But I’m like oh that’s more than three hours at my current pace. I still have a long way to go. And so, you know, we just kept plugging away and when my daughter was with me she actually was like, can you run a little bit? And she’d pick a spot like 50 yards ahead. It’s like, well let’s run there, like, OK, let’s do it. And we did that like three times in this one mile and got this 23 pace down to like an 18-minute pace. And we were so excited, we brought this pace down by doing these three short runs. And I thought I was like, I can’t do that anymore.
John: Wow. Your body just I mean, I can’t even imagine your muscles. I’ve just got to seize up.
Scott: Yeah. And I look back and they’re like, my muscles weren’t sore. They weren’t sore. Like my feet were hurting. Uh, I think it was just exhaustion. Just being awake. I mean, that’s 27 hours when we got to Hatteras that I’ve been awake, moving.
John: Steadily moving.
Scott: Exactly. And so I kept moving and Maggie was with me the last eight miles or so. And they were all miserable I think all the way up until the last quarter mile where I could see the finish line. I think I easily could have just laid down and quit.
John: Oh man. And so when you saw the finish line, you’re now a quarter-mile away. What do you think? And I mean, what’s going through your mind?
Scott: I made it like this. It’s over. Like, I can be done. I can be done with this. Yeah, I did run. I was able to run the last, you know, 30 yards or 50 yards or whatever it was down the chute.
John: Were there a lot of people there? Like other people watching?
Scott: There are like a handful of people there. And, you know, they give you your belt buckle. That’s sort of the prize for finishing a 100-mile race. And so, yeah, I got my belt buckle in. I think part of the thing is with, you know, Covid now, they can’t really have these big to-do’s. And so it’s kind of like, all right here and then you got to kind of move along.
John: Yeah. Yeah.
Scott: You know, we just went and they set up a chair and I sat down, yeah, and, you know, for about ten seconds, I actually started crying and like, because it’s like, it’s over. Like I’m done with this, like, it’s just I’ve finished some pretty tough things and just never felt.
John: Was that the toughest thing you’ve ever done? Please say yes.
Scott: Well, yeah. I mean, like from all around, like mentally, emotionally, like because it plays with you on that end. You know, from just like a straight-up what’s hard physically skill-wise, that sort of thing. No, but like from the straight-up just having to push through and keep going when you’re tired. Because that’s what I felt like it ended up being. Is this a test of how long I can stay awake and keep moving?
John: Yeah. Do you feel like you can do anything now because you’ve done all these things?
Scott: No. No, but I feel like if I choose something that I want to do, I know that I can probably figure out a way to get through it too.
John: It must be just your confidence, though, builds to know that you’ve overcome something like that and you’ve done something that, you know, a fraction of a percent of people can ever do. Just must make you realize how much mental strength you have, not just physical strength, but mental strength because you have to have that.
Scott: Yeah, yeah. I mean, help along the way, you know. With them pushing me because I think having Pacer’s in that event, you know, having Maggie and my daughter out there and my sister and all that. That was huge. I don’t think I would have been able to. I know I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them with me. And so, you know, next year when my buddies actually do come around and do this, I’m excited to pace them. I’m not doing it again.
John: So, first of all, fascinating story and congratulations. I mean, that is unbelievable. So I know you said you’re always kind of thinking about the next thing. What is next for you?
Scott: Back to mountain biking, yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m going to probably do a couple of mountain biking things, although Maggie ended up doing 38 miles with me during this race and my daughter did 18 miles during that race. So Maggie was excited that she’s like, well, I want to do an altar now. So she and I are signed up to do a 50 K in October and we’re going to do that together. So she wants me to do a race with her. So 50 K Trail race.
John: That’s great. Where’s that? Around here.
Scott: It’s at Pilot Mountain. The Hanging Rock. So we’re going to do that together this fall. So I’ll help her through that one. She helped me through that one. We’ll see.
John: Good for you. Well, that is absolutely great. I’ve got all the respect for you in the world and just admiration. I mean that’s just unfathomable. And I love, love the story. I mean, what a cool, cool accomplishment. And obviously came a lot of pain, but a lot of, you know, reward afterward, I’m sure.
Scott: Yeah, I’m glad it’s done. And part of me is like, you know, I could get a much better time. Like, I didn’t have a great time in the grand scheme, but I’m kind of like, all right, I finished. I think you have to say you did it. That’s good enough.
John: Wow. Well, this has been fantastic. I know we’re running out of time here, but you’ve got a lot of people in the audience, I’m sure, that are maybe thinking about either trying to push themselves with running or biking or doing Ironman or something like that. What piece of advice would you leave them with that they might be able to take with them?
Scott: Get a good support group. One, it makes it more fun, like the fact that I have friends that, like, we all do this stuff together, that’s the reason we do it. And then, you know, with Maggie doing it, too, that makes it that much better. And I’m just hoping I can get her into mountain biking. I’m trying.
John: That’s awesome. Well, I’ll tell you. Let us know when you are doing one that’s around here. Would love to, we’ll cheer you on and get a big group around you. So that’s great. Congrats. Awesome. Well, thanks for joining us today. I really appreciate it, Scott. Thanks for having me. So thanks for tuning in, everybody. We’ve been here with Scott Wells, ultra-elite marathoner, and mountain biker and Iron Man. Just an incredible athlete. Great story and great having you here to share with you. So we’ll have you back maybe at some point when you do another one.
Scott: OK, all right.
John: Thanks. So thanks for tuning everybody. Make sure as always, like, subscribe, share this, go down below, give some reviews. Five stars, of course, and always interested in your new thoughts and ideas of topics and guests and all that kind of good stuff. So thanks for joining us today, everybody. Have a good one.
John (Closing): Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions, or inquiries, about having me at your next event, or personal coaching, reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org Once again, that’s email@example.com. Thanks! Lead on!