I think I might have finally lost it.
I remember in high school when I was struggling and felt like there was no hope for me. I felt doomed to a low income future and had no hope of succeeding. I remember walking by the guidance office after picking up my report card and the story about the train that said “I think I can, I think I can.” came to me.
Why? I don’t know but I’m glad that it did. I was discouraged and ready to give in to a life of not giving a shit and probably end up hooked on drugs like so many of my peers.
When I got my shitty grades for that year, that experience with the memory of the train that could blended together into a moment. It was a moment that I made a decision. The decision was to give life one more try. To not give up.
I remember making an agreement with myself. The agreement was this: I will give school one more chance and I will try hard. If it doesn’t work out then I will quit on life and say fuck it. Seriously I would have given up on life.
So I tried and I succeeded. Then that point in my life became a route. That route began to grow a tree and from there, branches and leaves have blossomed and grown at different parts of my life. That success of the next year gave me the confidence to know that I can do something if I put my mind to it. It also gave me the curiosity to know what I was truly capable of.
You see the success in school was symbolic of everything in my life. If I could turn school around could I turn my body around and make me physically fit. How fit could I be and what was I capable of? What was possible for me in relationships and what did I have to lose with asking a girl out? What was possible for me in all areas of my life.
So in hindsight that moment began the beginning of many things that caused me to test my own limits. Pushing my own limits has paid off big time. I’m physically fit, I went to university, I got a job in the industry that I wanted. I told my wife that the courses I was taking would translate into income someday but I couldn’t tell her when. Well my goal was to earn $100k per year before the age of 30 and I accomplished that goal. I married my highschool sweetheart. We have two kids, two dogs and a wonderful home.
I have led a life of endless pursuit of growth and I feel very grateful for the decisions and efforts that I put in to get me here.
Now having said that, I think I may have finally lost it. I’ve come up with and done many crazy things in my short life so far at the age of 36.
I decided to begin training in gymnastics in high school because those guys are super fit, muscular and can do amazing things regardless of what the social backlash I may have received. And yes before everyone gets up in arms, times were different 20 years ago than they are now.
I joined the army reserves and did reconnaissance for three years while going to school full time. I signed up when I was 17 and instead of playing with my friends for the summer I was learning to shoot machine guns, missile launchers and throwing grenades. Basically I was learning how to go overseas and become a peacekeeper or a peacemaker should the need arise.
I got myself onto the trading floor in the investment world of hedge funds and pension funds. I completed the Chartered Financial Analyst exams and got the designation despite more than 50% of the exam takers failing each year. Yes, its tough as nails.
I signed up for a triathlon and I didn’t know how to swim distance but I taught myself before the race. Sadly the weather was so bad with six foot waves that they cancelled the swim portion and did a duathlon instead (run/bike/run).
I taught myself how to set anchors, use ropes rappelling and do outdoor rock climbing. I even did a rock climbing competition.
I skated on a lake from one island to the next, about 1km, by myself… admittedly in hindsight it was a stupid and dangerous thing to do.
I’ve run half marathons, I’ve trained in mixed martial arts and had my head rung more than a couple of times but also kicked some ass.
I now take cold showers without hot water. I went vegan.
I’m not trying to brag but merely set the frame. These are the facts.
Now every quarter I set quarterly challenges across four area of my life every quarter: body, being(spirituality), balance(family) and business. I got this from Wake Up Warrior and have been using their system for over a year.
So I had just successfully completed my quarterly challenge of learning to hold my breath for four minutes and I had to set my next quarterly challenge. Previous challenges included doing a half marathon and increase my strength by 35%.
The purpose is to find a goal that is slightly impossible so that it forces you to step out of your comfort zone and do something that you weren’t previously capable of. If you smoke then quitting smoking could be a body challenge. Perhaps you want to lose 20 pounds. Perhaps you want to do an Ironman. The choice is completely up to the individual. The point is to pick something and figure a way to do it
You see the body is the access point to power. Learning to overcome things in body is meant to help you take that behaviour and pattern of overcoming and figuring things out so that you can apply them to being, balance and business. Can I listen to myself more? Can I be a better husband and father? Can I make more money. Pick something in each area that is slightly impossible and go after them like your life depends on them. The bigger the targets the better.
So I found myself thinking of what to do next. Running around Lake Simcoe was something that is huge and is a local landmark. It was something I’ve always wanted to do but thought it would be good on a bike. It’s about 175-200km, 108-124 miles, depending on the route.
Now here’s some more of the facts to further set the frame:
I haven’t run more than four times over the last three months. Those runs have all been 5km. My last big run was in August and I ran 25km, 15 miles. I’ve been busy training in weights to increase my strength by 35% from the last challenge.
So when I came up with the idea here were my thoughts:
- I’m excited
- I’m terrified
- I can do it
- I can’t do it
- Why can’t I do it?
- There is a real chance I may die by being hit by a car, internal organ failure, dehydration, getting attacked by an animal if I do this alone, I could get lost.
- I may also get injured and not complete it.
- I may not get through it because my mind gives up on me and says fuck it. I’m out. This is stupid and there is no reason to do it.
- It should take between 24-30 hours to complete. This is a complete guess.
- Should I ask someone to follow me? I’m not planning to involve anyone in this.
- I don’t want to stop strength training.
- I only have 14 weeks to prep and one week is a taper week.
- I’ve never run anything further than 25km…ever and I did it once.
- I did a half marathon of 21km about four years ago.
- I haven’t run farther than 5k in six months.
- I’ve ran four times in the last three months.
- I run for the train after work…that helps right?
- If I do this my wife may kill me before I start because she’ll think I’m irresponsible and stupid.
- I don’t want to stress out my wife.
- She has to watch the kids for the weekend while I do this.
- I’ll leave on a Saturday morning and come home Sunday at some point.
- Should I take the Monday off work? No. Yes. No. Yes. I dunno.
- I’m over my head
- Fuck it I’m doing it.
- How do I get in all the miles while still doing weights and working and kids?
- I could run to the train station after I drop off my kids in the morning.
- I could run from the train station to work and at the end of the day too.
- Then I run from the train station to the car again.
- Four days a week is about 40k at 10k per day. I work from home on Fridays usually so that’s why there’s four days a week here.
- I could run 3-5k after my morning weights workouts.
- I’ll run long runs on Sundays of greater than 20k hopefully.
- Total of about 80k per week.
- I’ll grow the Sunday runs to 40k
- That’ll be 100k+ per week.
- 12 weeks of this, plus a taper and a week that shit doesn’t get done because that’s how life goes and I’m good.
- Next challenge is resupply along the way. I gotta get water. I gotta get food.
- Who’s open at 3am to sell water to a stinky delirious runner.
- What if I get diarrhea along the way? I’ve never had it on a run but I know it happens to a lot of runners at larger distances.
- Oh, I’m vegan but cheat at deserts sometimes. No protein powders, etc.
- I have a liver issue that causes me problems every now and then called Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) and what if that holds me back in some way. Fuck it. Prep and stay hydrated as best as possible. I can’t wait around for life to go bad on me and tell me that I would have been fine to do it but didn’t take the opportunity.
So I reached out to a friend Shell who had run a number of ultramarathons for some advice. Lunch is on Thursday. There is a part of me that’s hoping I don’t go through with this. There’s a part of me that is hoping that I do it and can take this experience with me.