Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Rules of Endurance

When I start an ultra event be it running or biking, I imprint three rules into my brain:

1) Stay positive
2) Be nice to my crew
3) Quitting is not an option

In this “special” ultra in which I’m currently participating, I stamped these rules into my brain right from the start. It has been tough, but all ultras have their ups and downs and I expected that. I have stuck to my rules (not exactly 100% on the first two though) and will continue to stick to them through the finish.

With five months down and one to go, I started thinking about life after treatment. With my current energy level and lack of red blood cells it’s hard to imagine running or riding in the mountains again. So I asked a doctor friend of mine what kind of recovery time I can expect. He sent me a study that wasn't very encouraging, but that study turned out to be special cases. He conferred with two specialist who both agreed it varies, but normally 2 - 4 weeks. My doctor confirmed that prognoses also.

The good news is that I’ve been pretty atypical throughout this entire adventure, so I’ll keep pushing the envelope as much as I can. It looks like I won’t be racing this summer, but I’ll play it by ear. I have my eye on the American Discovery Trail Marathon  on Sept 5 (my birthday) and if I can get some decent training in and feel like I can push it, I’ll go for it. In the mean time I am committed (and signed up) to run with “Team Colorado” in a 6 day ultra marathon run called The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica starting on January 21, 2012.

During this down time, I’ve had the opportunity to read a lot of books. I just finished “Running on Empty” by Marshall Ulrich. Marshall is one of the most accomplished ultra-endurance and adventurers of all time. This book is about how at 57 years old he ran from San Francisco to New York City in 52 days. That’s an average of over 60 miles a day for 52 straight days! Marshall, over time has put together the “Ten Commandments of Endurance” or “Marshall Law” as some call them, based on his experience and incredible accomplishments. They are:

1) Expect a journey and a battle
2) Focus on the present and set intermediate goals
3) Don’t dwell on the negative
4) Transcend the physical
5) Accept your fate
6) Have confidence that you will succeed
7) Know that there will be an end
8) Suffering is okay
9) Be kind to yourself
10) Quitting is not an option

Great advice for any endeavor. Perfect for this one.

Here is a video clip of Marshall’s incredible run across the USA. Enjoy!