The thing about setting these lofty goals are that the person usually thinks that he/she is capable of doing it. After doing some research, I've found that in order to qualify for the USATF 24 Hour National Team, I need to run 135 miles within that 24 hours... which kinda seems a little tough... but at the same time... it feels doable. Of course, I've never done anything crazy like that, and the longest run I've ever done was last year's 12 hour run, where I did 62 miles... and here I am right now, thinking about doubling the time and more than doubling the distance... how crazy is that?
Having a lofty goal isn't a bad thing... when you're looking at taking steps towards getting there. However, should you have a lofty goal that is immediate... now THAT would be a bad thing. Setting lofty goals should help you build yourself up, and not break yourself down ASAP. It's one thing to look far off in the distance and seeing yourself go towards there... but it's another thing to make impossible goals for your race next week (although I am tempted).
The thing about lofty goals are they push you. And when pushed, you have to adapt and improve yourself, and step by step, you get to where you need to be. My lofty goal is to become one of America's top ultra distance runner. Right now, I'm nowhere near that, but I believe that over time, as I train and work hard, I'll take small steps towards my goal and finally manage to be one of the elite runners of America.
I always liked a quote a friend once told me:
Aim for the stars and you might hit the moon.
I plan on hitting the stars.