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!
The first song I heard when I turned on my ipod around mile 8 was tom petty’s ‘runnin down a dream’. It felt appropriate as today was a dream day.
I didn’t sleep too well, partially because I haven’t been working out as much so my body wasn’t tired. That was about to change big time. The biggest surprise was that one of my best friends in the world sent his wife tammy and her friend to see me off at the starting line. They flew 4 hours from dubai and drove 3 hours into the desert just to cheer me on. How amazing is that? It pumped me up beyond belief and kept me going strong all day. Seriously, how amazing are they?? They are incredible friends and I am overwhelmed with gratitude, once again.
The first hour of running I spent praising God for the beauty of His creation and for the ability to run and in prayer. I went out pretty slow and steady and the first hour or two wasn’t too hot and the terrain was easy. The last thing I wanted to do was blow it out in the first hour of a 7 day event. After checkpoint 2, it started getting very hot and the terrain got more difficult. I was able to keep up my pace, and even increase it some. I was still feeling great at hour 3 and was able to keep running in over 100 degree weather on some steady, sandy inclines. I wish I had more words to describe the beauty.
I ended up with a top 20 finish with a time around 4:41. That’s the longest time ive ever run in my life. I crossed the finish line with a big smile and in disbelief at my good placing. I'm not going to let it go to my head, as it’s a long race and the days are just going to get harder. Thank you for all your prayers! I felt lifted up all day. Im super grateful for no blisters, chafes or injuries. The food is tasting good and the pack is getting a little lighter.
Thank you all for your comments and emails. They are so encouraging! I feel the love all the way in the sahara!
Heading out to the desert on the bus in a few! Right now, I'm at $22,000. I'm remaining positive that we can still hit my goal of $50,000! It would be a dream to get that news when I cross the finish line :) Here's some great publicity we got right before the event: http://espn.go.com/blog/playbook/trending/post/_/id/10134/calif-man-to-run-6-marathons-in-6-days http://www.keyt.com/sports/local/Santa-Barbara-Man-To-Run-For-Charity-In-The-Sahara-Desert-175684751.html#commentform Off we go!
Heading to bed after a day of final packing and refining. Tomorrow we do orientation and gear check and then we're bussed out to the desert to our 1st camp. I'm so amped! I love this quote leading into this week: “Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never pushed through the obstruction.” William James Here's to finding that ease and power... Lord willing!
I’m flying over the Mediterranean right now en route to Cairo. I’m filled with excitement and some emotion as I’m in the final days of a six month journey. A lot of people have asked if I’m nervous, and though I’m sure I’ll have race day butterflies, my answer has been no. I’m approaching this event more like an adventure instead of a race. In adventures, you take things as they come, remain flexible, and prioritize “drinking in the experience”. In races, you have to perform. I’m hopeful that I can maintain this perspective and remain present the whole time. I’ve met a fellow racer on the plane from Toronto named Jeff and it’s been fun talking about all the little things that only racers care about: gaiters, sleeping pads, dehydrated food strategies, etc. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude at all the encouragement, prayers and support I’ve gotten from my community before I left. I must have literally hundreds of people who have committed to pray for me and encourage me through the event. When I left, almost $20,000 had been donated! That’s still quite shy of my $50,000 goal, but I’m remaining optimistic that support will keep coming in as I’m racing. It would be the best news in the world to hear at the finish line that my goal had been reached and that many more families would be impacted. Keep sharing it: www.run4poverty.org I’m excited to see my racing buddy Brian Townsend in Cairo. The plan is to catch up on sleep, get acclimated, pack and repack a few times to try to shed some ounces from my pack, and probably go for a short jog or two just to get the blood flowing. Saturday is racer orientation and then we’re all bussed out into the desert to our 1st campsite. Sunday at 8am is the start of the actual race, but in my mind the final days of a 180+ life changing adventure.
Hi fellow racers, In reading a lot of past blogs and talking to other RTP veterans, I've heard a lot of them recommend having 1 or 2 food "indulgences" each day. I like the thought behind it, but I'm struggling to think of good ideas that are practical to carry. I thought I might open up a the discussion to see what other people might be bringing as food treats to look forward to during the competition. A few I've thought of are: Lays salt and vinegar potato chips snickers bar skittles other candy bars flask of rum (maybe a little too excessive) Any other good ideas?
Less than a month and I'm feeling ready! I wish the race were this weekend. It's been a great couple months of training since I last posted. Since I got back from Costa Rica, I've upped my mileage and have been putting in a lot of miles on the local beaches in the thick sand. Santa Barbara has some great stretches of uninterrupted beaches at low tide. Yesterday I ran 20 miles on the same stretch of sand. Gorgeous. I've also been getting in at least one Bikram Yoga (hot yoga) per week. Training in Death Valley has been the most grueling and subsequently the most helpful of all my training. My fellow competitor and great friend Brian Townsend and I have done a few trips out there, camping in the dirt and running the Mesquite dunes during the 115-120+ degree heat. The heat was relentless, and really got me focused on hydration and electrolytes. Fundraising has been a lot of fun. My website/video is at www.run4poverty.org. Let me know what you think! We're already up to 12,000 USD and I hope to exceed my goal of 50,000 USD by race day. It's been fun reading up on fellow competitors. I look forward to meeting you all out in Cairo! Happy tapering!
I was about to sign up for this race 5 years ago, but an injury knocked me out of it. Starting my own business and having my first child have kept me pretty pre-occupied since then, but the thought of this race has always been in my mind. My friend Brian Townsend (also a competitor in this race) recently talked me into it, and my wife was 100% behind me. No excuses. I started with a good fitness base, but I've never done much mileage (only 1 marathon). I upped my training to about 40-45 miles a week in May/June, transitioned to sand running, and now I'm hitting it hard in Costa Rica in July. Although it's a very different kind of heat, 90+ degrees is probably more helpful than 65 degree beach runs in Santa Barbara. It's also been helpful to try out several different electrolyte powders, shoes, music, hydration systems, etc. Surfing has been delightful as a cool down exercise on my off days. I know I'll be dreaming of that kind of cleansing out in the desert!