The past year has been one of the longest and most interesting of my life.
In the aftermath of the bombings that occurred at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, I reflected on every aspect of my life. The question that took the longest to answer was whether I was truly living my life in a meaningful and purposeful life. Oh sure, I could easily gravitate to the hundreds of runners I coach and the endless stories of success with their fundraising and improvement in running for a quick ‘yes’ to that question. But life is never that simple and I’m not one to take the easy way out.
I needed to take a deep dive on every facet of my life, which included my marriage, family, work, friendships and other passions and evaluate each one. But before I began that journey I felt the need to truly live life. I knew this was going to be a journey requiring significant thought and reflection. Running, fly fishing and motorcycling are my favorite activities for reflection so I needed to develop a battle plan.
I decided a major motorcycle journey would provide a significant physical, emotional and spiritual challenge so the planning began. I have always dreamed of riding my motorcycle across our wonderful country but ultimately decided to add more challenge and complexity. Completing the coveted Four Corners Tour (http://sc-ma.com/rides/usa-four-corners-tour-site) was my primary goal but I also wanted to attempt riding across the country in less than 50 hours. The Four Corners tour requires a rider to travel from Madawaska, Maine to Key West, Florida to San Ysidro, California and to Blaine, Washington. Oh yeah, I then had to ride back to the Boston area.
In my attempt to ride across the country in less than 50 hours I chose a southern route from Jacksonville, Florida to San Diego, California. I made a successful attempt in just 40 hours and 35 minutes. Trust me, that’s a long time to stay awake, particularly when riding a motorcycling, battling weather, traffic and immeasurable fatigue and exhaustion.
I learned that we are all capable of achieving far more than we realize. Another lesson I learned is not to put dreams on hold regardless of all the reasons why they don’t currently fit into your life…work is too demanding, time is too limited and it’s far too expensive. Ultimately, what matters is that we chase our dreams, push ourselves beyond our comfort zone and attempt to find purpose and inspiration in the way we live each day.
The only drawback to this 12,000 mile motorcycle journey in 14 days (http://sc-ma.com/rides/usa-four-corners-tour-site) was that I developed a case of severe Achilles tendonitis. I was on my motorcycle for more than 21 hours every day so I kept my feet in essentially the same position. I shifted with my left foot and there’s a lot of shifting involved when riding 12,000 miles.
It has been over a year and I’m just getting back to running 5 days a week. I certainly have lost a significant amount of fitness and most of the muscle memory in my legs. However, I gained a higher level of appreciation and love for running. Running defines me more than anything else. It’s where I learn the most about myself, what I’m capable of and where my weaknesses are…it’s where I find the greatest inspiration.
Now I’m looking at challenging myself in another arena…running! My love and passion for motorcycles is as strong as ever, but now I want to enjoy exploring the back roads of New England and not place myself at risk by pursuing ultra distances while sleep deprived. I know I want to attempt 100 miles on the track to raise money for Chaz Davis, a young man from Grafton, MA that has lost his vision to a rare condition (http://www.telegram.com/article/20140222/COLUMN12/302239925&Template=printart). I also want to explore how fast I can run a marathon at 56 and complete more trail ultras (24 hours and 100 mile races). You can have enough rodeo style belt buckets from completing trail ultras
So it’s wonderful to be nearly 100% recovered from this Achilles ailment and training consistently. I look forward to training the Marathon Coalition runners for the 2015 Boston Marathon. Seeing this group of runners train for and complete the Boston Marathon will provide far more satisfaction and inspiration than anything I can achieve myself!
Yes, it’s been a very long year and I am still in the process of evaluating how I can live with more purpose and meaning each day… but I wouldn’t change a thing.
I look forward to seeing you on the roads…and trails!