Benchmarks and Marks on the Doorframe

How many of you had a door in your home where a parent religiously marked off your height? Perhaps if you had siblings there was a mess of marks in different colored Bic pens or Sharpie markers. Maybe your dad used his pocket knife, which was his father’s and now sits in your jeans pocket, to notch the door frame on your birthday each year.  You had an easy to read record of growth, an ability to see where you were coming from and where you stand now. If only we had such easy marks to read in our lives as adults.

Many people have asked me “What makes you think you can do 50 marathons in 50 weeks?” I only ran my first marathon 2 years ago.  I took off 2014 due to repeated injuries. I have only run 2 official marathons and 3 unofficial marathons so far this year. To be honest, my training miles are not where I would hope they would be.  I shoot for 30-40 miles a week and I’m only completing 20-30 miles. I haven’t had any major injuries this year, but I have had weeks where I needed to R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate.) These next two months will be my tempering.  Three more marathons to go, one each week in November. I have run more consistently this year than any other time of my life.  I feel I have adopted tools and habits that allow me to rest and recover properly.  I feel that I have a team that I can go to for advice and support.  My body feels strong.

I actually don’t know if I can do 50 marathons in 50 weeks. I know I could do 50 5ks and 10ks. I’m pretty sure at this point I could do 50 half marathons. I am unsure about 50 marathons. However, this was the whole point – to choose a goal that seemed unbelievable to me and figure out how I could make it happen.  Other people try to come up with a new mousetrap. Other people try to create art that has never been seen or experienced before. Selfishly, I am merely trying to push myself out of set comfort zones, to see if I can consciously change who I am for myself – define myself by my terms.

In the grand scheme of the running universe, I know I am not setting any records or accomplishing anything new.

Earlier this year, James Lawrence, nicknamed “The Iron Cowboy” , a 39-year-old triathlon coach and personal trainer, set out on a grueling endurance challenge on June 6 in Hawaii: to complete 50 Ironman-distance events in 50 states in 50 consecutive days. He succeeded, finishing his final 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and 26.2-mile run 50 days later on July 25 in Utah.

“I want people to know that anything is possible, and to not let anyone else dictate what they think is possible,” he said. “Chase your highest dreams… there are no limits to life.”

This summer, a 23-year-old has allowed his life to imitate art — running about 3,200 miles across the United States in less than 100 days just like the title character in “Forrest Gump”. Barclay Oudersluys had this to say about his momentous trip.

“I think it’s all mental,” he said. “It’s just, do you want to do it and stay focused and put the work in?”

There are everyday people, moms, doctors, cubicle workers, retirees, the guy who sits next to you at work who put in these miles, EVERY DAY.  They don’t take off a whole year, they just make it work.  I wish I could do that.  I’m hoping that this trip will show me that I can do anything I set my mind to.  I hope I can mark off growth on the doorframe at the end of this year.

Make it quick...I'm on the run!