A wide shot of the Andes Mountains with a snow covered Mt. Ausangate in the center. The 2020 team of eleven are hiking in the foreground on a beautiful day.

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Deeper introspections on 54 miles run on my treadmill
07 Dec
By 2020Visionquest
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Randy sits cross-legged on his treadmill wearing his Patriots jersey (number 54), looking up at a small statue of Buddha, appearing contemplative.

Randy takes a moment to contemplate prior to his run.

Don’t pray for lighter burdens, but for stronger backs.
― Buddha

Before I even begin my attempt to run 54 miles on my treadmill, I know a few things about the experience. I have never completed or even attempted such a long distance run before. I have, however, had many life experiences which will be of tremendous benefit and certainly considerable training specific work to both prepare me and build my confidence. I also know without any doubt that it will be hard and that I will likely want to quit several times during the nearly 8 hours of continuous running likely involved in my reaching this goal.

As Buddha subtly suggests, there is an aspect of accountability in managing difficult tasks. When I cannot make the task less difficult, I need to make myself stronger or more prepared for the task. In a fashion, this does make the task less difficult, I suppose. Certainly this is done in part through the training specific to the run. It may also be managed by a mindfulness allowing us to be aware of the additional tools we already have, if only we choose to bring them to bear.

Two of these that I want to bring into focus are endurance and gratitude. Endurance, beyond the physical aspect of running, is also a mental skill I have long cultivated in managing challenge. Our mind typically wants to surrender long before our body truly needs to stop; the willful determination to continue often requires telling the voice inside my head I do not choose to listen to the doubt or surrender, and I instead offer my own internal voice of confidence and commitment to continue. Endurance is in part buoyed by the choice to be the speaker in my mind rather than the listener, especially when things become the most difficult.

Gratitude is another tool of sorts that complements this approach. There are many current studies highlighting the positive results of practiced appreciation and gratitude. Mental and physical health benefits are noted at statistically significant levels, as is the ability to cultivate ever increasing levels of attainable gratitude from simply making strides in practicing appreciation regularly.

I attempt a daily routine of appreciation and it has been a benefit in my daily life. In the hardest later miles of this run, I will replace my doubting inner monologue with expression of gratitude for many things in my life. Each of these will lift my spirit and my steps in that time of need. My focus will be on the positive rather than the negative and that is always momentum in the right direction.

As a final observation, I’ll be doing a tremendous amount of work and yet I will literally be running in place. How often we feel like we are going nowhere and yet that is all a matter of perspective. I will factually (if successful) run 54 miles. More than the miles, I will strengthen my resolve and endurance physically and even more so mentally. I’ll improve my talent at using appreciation to incorporate gratitude’s positivity into my life. My abilities to reach for and achieve goals likewise will grow in measure equivalent to this daunting challenge.

Even should I fail in the attempt, failure is temporary when we choose a path of perseverance and resiliency. I will learn from the experience and set the stage for my eventual future success. By the time this blog is released that success or failure will be known although I’d suggest the success is assured from the process involved to this point already and the commitment to learn from the experience. This is why I encourage all of you to set your sights on strides, literal or otherwise, to improve your lives and continue to become the best versions of yourselves personally, professionally and philanthropically.

I know quite certainly that I myself have no special talent; curiosity, obsession and dogged endurance, combined with self-criticism have brought me to my ideas.
― Albert Einstein

Be well,
Randy Pierce

Editor’s note: Randy successfully ran 54 miles on his treadmill Dec. 5 with a final time of 8 hours, 25 minutes. Great job, Randy!

2 responses to “Deeper introspections on 54 miles run on my treadmill”

  1. Randy says:

    So this was really a difficult run, beyond even what I anticipated. That is in part due to it being an off day for me from the start. I wasn’t ill and though my sleep wasn’t spectacular it wasn’t horrible either. During the first mile I was checking in with myself to see how I was responding. My legs felt heavier than usual, just sluggish or leaden. My stomach wasn’t settled and my head which sometimes has more challenges with vertigo was deciding to feel less grounded. Oh boy. Good news is that I know these things can often ease out in a few miles.

    At mile 5 things were not worse as I told myself and that voice I mention above was trying to remind me this also meant they were not better. I have all the strategies to deal with these things but I usually don’t have to start emplying them in the early “easy” part of my long runs. When mile 10 is already tough and that’s usually a normal everyday run for me, it’s going to be a rough day.

    We have a short video clip from every ten miles that we’ll put together soon and share when it’s ready. I’ll share now that I was really hurting earlier than I wanted and my leg stumbles into the front of the treadmill happened with greater frequency than normal. Stopping at 27 miles to use the facilities and change sneakers and all my clothers felt great but it was a short lived resurgence. I was getting some serious muscle cramps despite the quality nutritional salts and other approaches intended to prevent such things. In fact at mile 49 my right leg totally seized and I stepped off the treadmill to lay on the floor and stretch it out. Tracy was a huge help here and while pushing my lower leg up the spasms in my calf, foot, quad and hamstring let her know my muscles were definitiely under some serious duress. Stretching and a bit of massage work had me back on the treadmill to work towards a painfull finish.

    I talk about gratitude often as a tool to distract our mind and focus us on something positive in the midst of difficulty. That is true. In this case the source of my gratitude was far more important to my actually being able to succeed. I was determined to keep pushing myself forward and both my wife Tracy and friend Jose were instrumental in providing support which gave me the ability to do that. Well beyond the encouragement which they gave in large amounts, they did allt he little things like controlling the treadmill when I needed every bit of my focus to not stumble in my run. They also did some of the big things and here, with all due respect to Jose, is where Tracy stood out even more. I mentioned that at mile 49 she worked me through the worst of the muscle cramps. She did this a couple of times in the latter part of the run and she helped support me in the challenging part of ensuring the balance of when is it acceptable and safe to push and when would it be right to choose to stop. I was in physical pain and that’s not what she wants to see me experience. She knew that would mean a couple of days of extended discomfort in response. She accepted my resolve and gave me everything I needed to succeed.

    On my 54 kilometer run I ran with so much more comfort well into the 30 mile range. Somedays, things are going to just be smoother. I could have called this one at mile 10 and tried to regroup for another day’s attempt. THere’s a lot invested into any particular day and so I opted to push through. That worked and whether it was right or not could certainly be debated. Any longer distance would not have been debated. If I did this distance again and had that same start I’d lean towards the reset for another day. The sooner that decision is made the sooner that retry could be planned and since I still ahve thoughts and hopes of going some longer distances, tis will be on my mind. The trick will be to not let them fule that inner voice too soon.

    Thank-you everyone for the many encouraging words. We had a few kind donations towards our matching grant which is now at 45% complete though I think 54% would have been fun! I especially want to thank Tracy, Jose and Tom Cassetty as well. It was a beautiful day to run with the snow falling steadily and as one added bonus, Tracy, Jose and Michal did all the shoveling to let me recover! Let it Snow!?!

  2. Martin Geoghegan says:

    Awesome, Randy! You are such an inspiration in so many ways. You always amaze me.
    Thank you for sharing, Marty

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