How do I know that I will beat the world record for running Badwater SSC Solo self-contained crossing ultramarathon? In the words of T. S. Eliot, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
I know this will push my body further than it has ever been before. I know it will take every ounce of my physical, emotional, and psychological strength to cross the world’s harshest environments in the hottest month of the year. My assumption is that this will be way harder than running across America because I do not get a break for 60 or more hours. I have to push, pull and drag a 250+ pound cart filled with water, food and supplies and I will be alone. There will be nobody to help me, nobody to prepare my food, give me water, and nobody to do body work to keep me moving.
Most people say that I am crazy or think running through the desert is stupid. When I tell people that I am doing it alone pushing a cart, I can see it in their eyes that it does not compute. This is far beyond reality for most people. Those who do not have the desire to run a marathon don’t understand why someone would run one. Some take on the marathon challenge and will train for years or more just to run one marathon on a flat course with water/aid stations every mile. To many marathoners racing Badwater SSC solo is ridiculous. Even some of the hardcore ultrarunners say I am crazy.
When even the world’s greatest and hardcore runners think this is crazy, why do I do it, and why do I believe I can do it? How does anyone who takes great risks know they will be successful? By believing with full conviction that they will succeed. There is no other option but to succeed. You must know what you want and do WHATEVER it takes to make it happen. There is no room for maybe’s or half-ass attempts. Go all in and commit.
With months of training, thousands of dollars invested, countless hours consumed, and ridiculous amounts of planning, I am fully committed to this race and to beat the record. The circumstances are my accountability system. The public declaration of my run is by design to motivate me and to inspire others to live large and go for their biggest dreams.
Why run 146 miles through the desert with no support over 3 mountain passes in 120+ temperatures, for 60 hours of nonstop running and pushing a 250+ pound cart? At the end of life, I don’t want to think about what could have been and wonder what if. This adventure is exciting to me and I am certain I can do it. This is the way I now live my life full out. No holds barred, no holding back and no more playing it safe. I go for it and give it everything I got. I have lived much of my life in mediocrity and afraid of following my path. Looking back I see how wrong that was. To live smaller than your ability is to not have lived at all.
A challenge this big is what makes it so appealing to me. Only 5 people have ever attempted it (that is super cool to me) and only 2 have succeeded. The record holder, Marshall Ulrich is one of the best ultrarunners that have ever lived and so the opportunity to compete and break his 13-year old record is, well … nothing short of extraordinary.
I am still new to running and ultrarunning (less than three years) and so stepping up my game to a run that is harder than what National Geographic called, “The hardest Foot Race on the Planet” most would say is ludicrous. When someone says you can’t do something, let it fuel your fire to prove them wrong. I have no disillusions that this will be easy. And even with my training, planning and understanding of how difficult this will be, I know that this will be ten times harder. There is nothing you can do to prepare for a run like this. You prepare the best way you can and then you do it and push further than you have ever before. I will have to push harder than any person has ever pushed to beat the record. When my body and spirit is about to break, that is exactly when I must get back up and keep going. When it hurts so bad that tears are streaming down my face, I must push on.
The pain will fade, my body will recover (and get stronger), and the anguish will become a distant memory. But the accomplishment will live forever. The satisfaction of knowing I completed what might be the hardest athletic event on the planet will be what I will remember when I am in my rocking chair as a very old man reflecting back on life. I will tell my children and their children the stories of my adventures and records over and over and inspire them to live life large and live without boundaries.
Go out and make life happen in a way that makes you proud. Something so big that when you look back, you’ll think, “Wow, I really did it.” We are not born to play small, we are born to achieve greatness. To live up to that greatness you must do and live up to your unique greatness. When you accomplish something amazing, nobody can take that away from you.