I am not going to lie, the past week has been tough for training! I made a purchase of a treadmill so I would not be forced to run in the snow and cold on roads without any street lights and so I can train the half of the week my daughter is with me and I am unable to leave her alone (only 5 year old). I have rediscovered my vehement dislike of running on a treadmill however! It has been extremely difficult to keep myself moving despite how great I am feeling on my run.
I got the boost I needed this week however! Originally I was not planning to launch this site, or the virtual challenge until we got a little closer to the actual events, but I got a little nervous. Kevin had a scare a week and a half ago, fortunately making it through ok, and then my father came down with COVID (still fighting). Both of these situations made me push a little more. I had told both Kevin and my father about my plans, but I wanted to make them "real" for them and me... just in case!
Again, fortunately both are on the mend and home and I was able to launch everything officially for the entire world to see!
Up to this point only a select few individuals had known about the entirety of the project, and I would let a few people I work with know when I was struggling to train to give myself another reason to push. Making it public knowledge however shot me out of a cannon.
One of my biggest struggles lately has been waking up early like I use to, forcing me to workout later in the evening when I am dog tired. This throws off my sleep like crazy. I wake up two hours after falling asleep wide awake and hungry and unable to fall back asleep for and hour or two. By that time over half of my night is gone and I am desperately trying to force myself out of bed on 4 hours of sleep. This has been unsuccessful on too many occasions, and ineffective when I have been able to train.
This morning however I woke up fresh at 4am and got on the treadmill. I was able to work for about an hour at a comfortable pace completing 6 miles and I had the thought that I could go to the gym before work. I realized however that with my school going remote all next week now I had to get a few extra things done as well as pick up my last minute secret Santa gifts.
This is the beauty of training for something that is bigger than you however. There are many folks out there that I have known and have worked with that train for things like just getting in shape, or to be "faster", but a lot of times we get bored or lose sight of our goals when they are for us. Every time I have made a commitment to do something and raise money for a cause that is not about me, and bigger than I am, I find that I push my training harder and am able to succeed at my goal much more efficiently!
This is one of the reasons I am encouraging people to either sign up for my virtual challenge and do their own independent fundraising, or just do fundraising for a cause without my challenge. The simple fact of pushing yourself to do something good for others will take you to places you have never imagined!
Over the next few weeks I will lay out my full training plan, or at least as much of it as I come up with, and discuss the challenges and successes of my plan. I will be working closely with Charlie Engle author of Running Man and better known for his Running the Sahara documentary. With his support, as well as several other ultra runners from around the country I plan to go from finishing my first half marathon distance run in 2020 to my first double marathons and beyond in 2021. It is a lofty goal, but as I have always been told if you set your goals high the worst thing that can happen is you fail at your goals high!
I hope this blog will be inspiring to others, give some training ideas, and help to motivate me through this amazing journey that has already filled my life and heart with joy! Thank you all for the moral support I have received already and lets conquer our goals together in 2021!
In 2019 I ran my first ever straight 5k in my hometown of Buffalo. I had completed a few Spartan obstacle course races, but my biggest weakness was running. I had known about the Undie Run for years because of my cousin Kevin participating in it and promoting it. I admired Kevin a lot!
When we were youger I felt that he looked up to me, but we were not the closest cousins. We saw each other a few times a year and as we grew our paths had crossed a few times but I guess this is how larger families are (we have A LOT of cousins), but when Kevin turned 28 it was my turn to look up to him.
Kevin was diagnosed with colorectal cancer and over the course of the following few years I saw him not only fight this incredible battle, but start a family, work his career, and become an advocate for those who were also diagnosed with this horrible disease.
So finally in 2019 I signed up for this 5k and went to support Kevin. I did not really think I would do all that great, but I was excited. I made the most common rookie mistake however, I started out way too fast! The excitement got to me a bit and I ran harder than I ever have. When I finally started to hit the wall about half way through I looked at those that were finishing the first half on this out and back course. These were people that at first I just thought were older or out of shape. Then I saw Kevin and his wife walking.
It hit me that many of these people were those like my cousin that were fighting for their lives. My legs and lungs were hurting and I had the thought "my pain is nothing compared to them". I realized that this pain was so insignificant and there were others going through chemo, their families struggling to pay the bills, or potentially looking at a fatal outcome and yet were out here walking, and possibly running this course with me.
I suddenly began to pick up the pace and chased down 3 people that were in front of me, eventually passing them all. My first 5k was finished in 23 minutes and change, placing me 7th overall and top of my age group!
Over the past 2 years I have continued to push myself and my self imposed limits, and each time I try to raise a little bit of money for an organization that has supported Kevin to some extent. This year I finally had the crazy idea "I am going to run the Erie Canal" and my first thought following that was "I wonder if Kevin would like another fundraiser"? Sure enough, Kevin had recently started a non-profit, The Buffalo Colon Corps, which is going to be a state wide coalition to bring more awareness, and access to colorectal cancer screening! It was a match that I could not deny.
So anyone that is reading this that thinks this is a crazy idea, he can't do it, I would never even try I want you to think for a minute. I am sure you know someone who has battled cancer at some point in your life. Would pushing your limits, crossing thresholds you never thought possible, or seeing just how far you could go put you even close to the same amount of pain that cancer has inflicted on your loved ones? If the answer is no, join me! Sign up for this event with me and over the course of 3 months go farther or faster than you ever have. When you do, create your own fundraiser and share it through your social media! Support a cause that has supported a loved one of yours, or raise more for the Buffalo Colon Corps. Do something to make an impact today!
This may be a crazy idea, and if I am being honest it scares me more than anything I have ever even thought about trying, but I am committed to it! Over the next few weeks I will post my training program that I am going to try to follow to the letter, how my coaching has come to be about, and all of the progress we have made.
I cannot wait to hear your responses, stories, experiences, and how you are working towards this goal with me! Your support will inspire me to push myself, and I know your hard work will inspire all of those we can impact just by simply running.