“I started running for reasons I had only just begun to understand. As a child, I ran in the woods and around my house for fun. As a teen, I ran to get my body in better shape. Later, I ran to find peace. I ran, and kept running, because I had learned that once you started something you didn’t quit, because in life, much like in an ultramarathon, you have to keep pressing forward. Eventually I ran because I turned into a runner, and my sport brought me physical pleasure and spirited me away from debt and disease, from the niggling worries of everyday existence. I ran because I grew to love other runners. I ran because I loved challenges and because there is no better feeling than arriving at the finish line or completing a difficult training run. And because, as an accomplished runner, I could tell others how rewarding it was to live healthily, to move my body every day, to get through difficulties, to eat with consciousness, that what mattered wasn’t how much money you made or where you lived, it was how you lived. I ran because overcoming the difficulties of an ultramarathon reminded me that I could overcome the difficulties of life, that overcoming difficulties was life.”
— Scott Jurek
I’ve had the chance to share a few strides with Scott as he has chosen to be a guide for blind runners and kindly used those talents at the California International Marathon where the United States Association of Blind Athletes normally holds the National Marathon Championship each year. I respect and appreciate his philosophies on both running and living. His accomplishments in the distance running world are quite simply legendary.
My own more modest goal for this year was to run 2020 miles and though COVID-19 encouraged more of my miles to take place on our new treadmill, I have continually run ahead of schedule. I set the stage so that Saturday, October 24 would comprise a 20-mile long training run leaving me at precisely 2020 miles and achieving the initial goal. I’m elated to celebrate this accomplishment which I first announced on December 30, 2019 in anticipation of many celebrations in the year 2020.
It has been a challenging year and not the signature year we initially envisioned. Ironically, that original post announced the cancellation of my 100-mile attempt for New Year’s Eve due to a prolonged illness. Now in good health and with an excellent fitness foundation, I’m ready to resume the ultra-marathon goal which began that quest.
On Saturday, October 31, I’ll begin the day with a virtually delivered keynote to the Eastern Star national meeting at 8:30 a.m. I will finish by 10:00, take some preparation time, and be on the treadmill by 11:00 a.m. Given the progress of my training, I will run between 8:00-8:30 minutes/mile for the duration of the 54 kilometers I’m using as this first step ultra-marathon. While it is more conventional to run a 50k race, I want to honor the “Full Tilt, Full Time” work ethic of Tedy Bruschi for his tremendous humanitarian efforts, quality character, and personal friendship.
This will be 33.55 miles of running and should take me just under five hours if all goes well. I have an all-inclusive isotonic nutrition system, Infinit Nutrition, prepared to help carry me through. Several members of my “quaran-team” are ready to ensure I have supplies, encouragement, and maybe a little accountability should the mental challenge begin to grow.
By 4:00 p.m. on Halloween, I hope to have my first official ultra-marathon complete and it will still only be a step on the journey. I will celebrate the summit it represents even as I return to a recovery run on Sunday as my training stages me towards the December 6 goal of a 54-mile run. All of this towards my eventual 100 mile-effort which had been planned to start this year.
As I shared with the Bigelow School 8th grade recently, excuses are often things we share when we quit or settle on can’t or won’t do something. Reasons are what we may choose to explain why we may have met with failure or disappointment, but are redirecting our efforts to ensure we will achieve or succeed, albeit differently than originally planned. My running goals have adapted throughout this untypical year as have my life goals. There have been good reasons. The goals I believe are worthy and important are things I’m still striving and striding to achieve and I believe I will succeed.