I want to share my final thoughts on one of the most profound weeks of my life.
(Photo: Blasted. Moments after crossing the finish line of the 50 mile day. Crazy weird Sahara dust all over me. Asleep on the sand minutes later.)
The experience that sticks out most to me was when I experienced a 12 mile, extreme runner's high while running through the night by headlamp after running 40 painful, slow miles. Funny enough, I couldn't for the life of me remember the song that ignited the fire inside. I must have listened to it a half-dozen times too. It wasn't until 36 hours later, while laying under the desert stars at 2am, that I woke up to the tune. It took me another 15 minutes to recall the lyrics. I felt the fire again while laying there in my sleeping bag (fortunately not THAT kind of fire).
The song is Times Like These by Foo Fighters. It's not like it's that profound of a song, but for some reason it was the catalyst between me shuffling in full-body pain and running beyond what I thought was possible. Here's a few of the lyrics:
I am a new day rising
I'm a brand new sky
To hang the stars upon tonight
I am a little divided
Do I stay or run away
And leave it all behind?
It's times like these you learn to live again
It's times like these you give and give again
It's times like these you learn to love again
It's times like these time and time again
What is profound is that this whole experience made me re-learn how to live, give and love. I'm pretty sure these things are to be done with more passion, risk, exertion, and reckless abandon.
I learned more about God's reverse economy. If you want to receive, give. If you want to be filled up, pour yourself out. You only really live for certain things if you are willing to die to them. I felt like I was the one receiving and being filled up all week.
Even though I had some basic longings throughout the week (i.e. cold beer and bodywork), all of my deeper longings were met. My soul felt filled. It felt like a week-long camping trip with God. One where we hung out, talked a lot, I complained but then we laughed together, I complimented Him on the scenery a lot, I asked him for lots of practical things, and he really took care of me and gave me a profound experience. Like a really good friend would. Or like a really good Dad would.
I know i wouldn't have had the same experience in my routine at home, or if the experience was easy or risk-free. It cost me a lot. It cost YOU a lot. Over 100 people gave over 30,000 of their hard-earned dollars. And I rest in the thought that God will take the bit we all sacrificed and multiply it for great things.
I just read through my blog posts for the first time since I wrote them and they're a bit rough, sappy and vulnerable. The exclamation point must have been stuck because every post is littered with them. I didn't edit them at the time. Just hobbled over after my run and poured out whatever was left. And that's what you got.
I was humbled more than a few times this week, and you guys were a big part of keeping me going. Thank you all for going on this journey with me. I hope you're not left with a picture of my strength. That would be inaccurate. I just signed up, trained and showed up. It was a much bigger strength and support that kept me going and allowed me to accomplish this goal. God orchestrated it and you were a part of it.
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." - Jesus
My next endurance event will be having a second child in February. Here's to another round of living, giving and loving beyond what I think is possible!
03-Nov-2012 02:02:23 AM [(GMT-06:00) Central America]
I will start with yesterday. the halloween celebration was tons of fun, dancing gangnam style with dozens of koreans and people from a multitude of other countries. They had sodas and candy, and i drank an ice cold pepsi that was nearly life-changing it tasted so good. I had a good rest and woke up ready for the biggest physical battle of my life.
i started the first stage in prayer asking God for tremendous mental fortitude and that he would carry me when i needed it. I thought of Opportunity International loan clients. I thought of you, the person reading this blog, and how youve encouraged me and given your hard earned money to help me RUN4POVERTY. it filled me with purpose.
my plan was to take it very easy and pace myself, as the longest ive ever run before is 26.4 miles. this would be very new territory for me. My big crazy audacious goal was to finish this stage in 14 hours, which would put me across the finish line around 9pm.
I ran through the valley of the whales in great spirits. it was gorgeous and i was overwhelmed with what a big God I serve. the expanse of this desert i have experienced is like one grain of sand compared to his whole creation. Awesome.
it started getting really hot coming in to checkpoint 3 (one thermometer said 118), but i was determined to keep running and not walk. mind you, my running pace out there was a VERY SLOW pace. a brazilian helper at checkpoint 4 called it my granny shuffle, and to be honest it pissed me off! i had that 9 pm goal in my mind, but it seemed to be slipping away as my "running pace" was around 20 min miles. it was still running though!
as i left Checkpoint 4, i climbed a huge gorgeous dune, and found a stray oreo in my snack pocket, and practically made love to it, it tasted so good. i hit the overnight checkpoint extremely exhausted and mentally drained. i thought about staying and resting, but believed that God would sustain me if i endured on. i changed my socks and had a quick meal, and was out of there in less than 30 minutes.
at this point i had been pushing for around 9 hours, and everything was hurting. bad. my 9pm goal looked more like 1130 or 12, IF i could keep the current pace. it felt like any step could have blown out my achiles or knee or something else serious. i had a few burning blisters too. and to make things more interesting, as the sun started to set, a huge headwind started pushing me back. i thought "isnt life like that sometimes?" then my mind quickly went back to grunting "JUST FINISH".
it was disheartening to think there was around 6 hours ahead of me. i didnt know how i would do it, but i was determined to. i ran out of electrolyte powder at CP 6. my pace was waning and my pain was increasing by the step. it was dark and i was running by my headlamp. it was amazing starting running at sunrise and still running at sunset. i couldnt even see anyone in any direction. it was a crazy feeling. It took me over 2 hours to get to CP 7, around 6:45 at night.
"From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised."
Then something indescribable happened. i left CP 7, and was experiencing pain and exhaustion like ive never imagined. A song came on my ipod, and i got a HUGE adrenaline rush, like ive never experienced before. i went absolutely TAZMANIAN DEVIL CRAZY. i started yelling at the top of my lungs " I DIDNT COME THIS FAR TO WALK THE SAHARA!!!" IM THE MAN IN THE ARENA. IM TO BE CARRIED ON WINGS LIKE EAGLES. LETS FINISH THIS!!!! and all kinds of crazy, other-worldly guttoral screams, profanity, prayers and cries.
my pace increased to around 10 minute miles, and i felt almost no pain. i thought, "this is great, but im afraid of bonking early as ive still got 12 miles to go and anything could happen." then the adrenaline kicked again "NO FEAR!!" LETS FINISH THIS!!! i pushed and pushed and maintinaned my lightning pace. KEEP UP WITH THIS GRANNY SHUFFLE MR. BRAZIL!!"
i blew into CP 8 with no water, refillled and screamed out of there hooting and hollaring. i think i freaked out the people in the CP. I KEPT THIS PACE FOR 12 miles... 2:20 minutes!!! it felt like someone elses body, seriously. if i slowed down, EVERYTHING WOULD HURT. if i cranked it up, the pain went away and i would start grunting and screaming and beating my chest. i was weeping at times. i felt like a warrior screaming into battle. yelling quotes and bible verses from my guts. seriosly, someone would have put me in the mental tent if they heard me. i just kept chanting all kinds of crazy things. i passed 6 competitors, who all thought i was insane.
i crossed the finish line PRECISELY at 9pm and almost threw up. 52 miles in 14 hours. my heart rate was through the roof and i couldnt see straight. i had accomplished my goal. i left it all out there on the course. i could barely form sentences.
i barely crawled into my tent and passed out. didnt even blow up my air mattress. suprisingly i feel amazing this morning. nothing hurts. i seriously am a new man.
ive got a few dozen competitors breathing down my neck to use the computer, so im off. ill write a little more tomorrow after all of this sinks in. I just found out that i finished #29th overall with a time around 39 hours 22 minutes. i thought i was dreaming to think about coming in below 50 hours, so i crushed my time goal.
thank you all for sharing this journey with me. your prayers and well wishes, i hope you all have realized by now, were life changing.
from the bottom of my new heart i thank you. All Glory to God.
now im off to rest up before my 3k run in front of the pyramids... my confidence is high that ill knock that one off :)
01-Nov-2012 12:25:29 PM [(GMT-06:00) Central America]
You guys must have powerful prayers, because I think they were answered last night. Even though I only had about 12 hours to recover for todays stage, I woke up feeling amazing and with my appetite back. What a blessing! Lots of people were hurting yesterday (even the camels didn't make it!! Seriously!), so before I went to bed I spent a bunch of time giving thanks for all the ailments i haven't had to face. And I also had the realization that as hard as any day is out here for me, Opportunity International loan clients literally have harder circumstances to endure every day. It was good to get some perspective.
I ran from the beginning and found a really good pace that i was able to keep all day. I finished with a time around 5:40 in 25th place. But best of all, i felt amazing all day. I was running alone most of the day, and had lots of time to think, pray and give thanks. My body felt fresh and strong. I feel some blisters and soreness, for sure, but I am in awe at how much more i can do than i thought was possible.
I had tears running down my face here in our dusty cybertent as I read more than 60 new messages of encouragement from you all.Ive got SUCH amazing friends, community, and an especially amazing wife. Paige, you are a SAINT and I am so grateful for you and your belief in me. you all talk about me giving, but i feel like im the one on the receiving end. ive never felt so loved and supported, and i dont know that ive experienced such purpose. it is amazing experiencing life in such a raw way. Thank you all for being a part of it.
i seriously laughed and smiled thinking of summer and all of your guy's kids in their halloween outfits today! I am going to be a jack o lantern tonight by making a face with electrical tape on my bright orange jacket.
Tomorrow is going to further push my limits with a 50 mile + day. As I heard in a Wyclef song today "you gotta have muscle for the hustle." Ill definitely need more than that, so thanks in advance for your prayers. Much love to you all and thanks for all the corona offers :)