The Bigfoot 200 was the culmination of almost two years of planning and training. In my head — finish or fail — my participation in this event was going to be my victory lap.
In November 2014, I found myself in the middle of a surprise divorce.
Shaken both emotionally and financially, I was forced to reevaluate my plans to run the 2015 Grand to Grand Ultra, a unique multi-day challenge that was going to be the farthest I had traveled for a race. Instead, I sent a painful email to the race director and donated the non-refundable portion of my entry fee.
Pursuing your passions means finding a way to balance and prioritize.
I learned this rule in college: At any given time you can juggle three things — outside of work — and still commit enough time and effort to each.
You can pick a sport, learn to play an instrument, and have a dog. But you cannot start writing a book at the same time. Try to add a fourth and you can no longer invest the time to get a proper return on your investment. You’ll be spread to thin, stressed out and unable properly commit your time to accomplishing your goal.
How does this work?
There are 168 hours in a week. Of those 168 hours, I spend approximately 45 hours working and — if I am lucky — 49 hours asleep. On paper, that leaves 74 hours to commit to other areas in my life.
Diet is what you eat; not a short-term, restrictive plan for losing weight.
We all tend to follow some diet or other, and while I was pacing Geoff a few weeks ago, we starting discussing mine. The other day he reached out and requested that I write a blog post on how I eat.
[Caveat: We are all an experiment of one. What works for me may not work for you. Also, I do not care how you eat, and you shouldn’t care how others eat. I have heard way too many people get way too passionate about the superiority of their particular food cult. Eat healthy, whatever that means to you.]
So what works for me? No sugar, no grains — NSNG. And this isn’t just while I am training for the Bigfoot 200 Mile Endurance Run, this is how I live.
I started eating NSNG just after the Super Bowl in 2013. Following that basic guideline, I lost approximately 20 pounds and have remained at that weight since.
But more important than the pounds I lost, I feel better. My energy levels are higher, I’m running better, and it’s not so restrictive that it complicates my life.
I have not been perfect in my implementation of NSNG, but I don’t want to be. Having a root beer float once in a while is not going to send me or my diet straight to hell.
Sometimes the race isn’t about you, but in those times it can be the most rewarding.
A year ago I spent the third weekend in May working the finish line of the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100-mile run. I spent it with friends I had made in the pervious six months, watching runners complete a hard and difficult race.
That Sunday, I can clearly remember standing in the field by the finish, staring at the mountains, listening to the crowd cheering runners to the end, and crossing a mental finish line of my own.
It was the moment I knew I was alright with my marriage ending.
This year, I returned to crew and pace a good friend who badly needed a win of his own.
Once or twice a week I am going to post an update that covers both my training and how it is affecting my life. Similar to a television or comic book series, the entire thing will culminate with a confrontation with the “Big Bad” that is lurking in the background throughout the entire series.