It could be disaster for my Badwater Solo Ultramarathon. Just one week away it’s the kind of thing you pray doesn’t happen … happens.
It was my last day to spend time with my kids before I challenge the most dangerous run in the world. I will be away for two weeks, so I wanted to do something special. We went to the aquarium and also saw an IMAX movie about polar bears. On the way home we stopped at the local high school for them to ride their bicycles on the paths. It was a seemly perfect day with my children, until that would all change.
My almost five year old by was riding his bike around the football field. As he peddled on the path around the field, I cut through the 50-yard line to meet him at the other side. He started to go up the ramp to the bleachers. I yelled for him to turn around and he did. I was still a hundred feet away as I yelled for him for him to go slow back down the ramp. He tried but couldn’t hit the brakes hard enough.
I could see that he was going way to fast for his little uncoordinated body to navigate the ramp at that speed and turn before crashing into the wall at the bottom so I ran to stop him. His bike gained speed and I knew this was going to be ugly if he hit the wall at full speed.
I got to the bottom of the ramp before he did, I leaned over the handrail that separated us and I plucked him off his bike. His bike crashed into the wall. I was able to hold him up and protect him. But I wasn’t so lucky.
I didn’t have enough leverage for his 40-pound body moving at that speed to stop while leaning over the railing. I was knocked off my feet and fell on the railing. The inertia of speeding little boy pulled me down the rail and until a pole stopped me.
When I fell on the rail against my ribs, the pain was intense and I knew this was not good. I bruised and possibly cracked a couple of rib and pulled a muscle in my back. I didn’t bother going to the doctor, because there is nothing they do for cracked ribs. Wrap it and take it easy is what they would tell me. It hurts when I laugh, cough, sneeze, lift or stretch.
So now what? One week away from battling the elements pushing a 270+ pound cart through Death Valley and I get hurt. What would you do? You probably can already guess what I am going to say. I will continue forward with the plan. As they say, the show must go on.
The injury isn’t significant enough to stop my 146 miles solo run from Badwater basin to Mt. Whitney to beat the Badwater Solo Self-contained crossing. It seems like it will make the run more challenging and more painful. It might seem like it would be silly for me to continue. There little risk of aggravating my banged up ribs, so it will only be a matter of dealing with the pain. And pain is very much a state of mind as an actual physiological event. Besides, as the Marines say, “Pain is weakness leaving the body.”
In a week, I WILL be running Death Valley as planned. Here is why. If we let life’s obstacles stop us, then we will never get the greatest rewards that can only happen when we persevere against the odds and push past the challenges. Especially when obstacles seem big, but really aren’t all that significant to the event and particularly in the overall journey of life. When you want something in life, it is often the obstacles that make it worthwhile and most rewarding because you didn’t stop when everyone else would have.