Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I Can't Possibly Do It

5/5/11    100 mile ultra run through Green Mountains of Vermont
5/21/11  Ironman TX (2.4m Swim, 112m Bike, 26.2m Run)
6/4/11    53 mile ultra run over steep gradients of Vermont
6/24/11  The 48 hr Death Race

When I wrote this list out before me I distinctly heard of voice well up in my mind:  You can't possibly do it.

Each of these races will knock me out for months, and I'm going to do them all within 7 weeks?

It begs the question, why?  But I don't have an answer for you.  Sorry.

When George Hillary was asked why he wanted to climb Mt Everest, he simply said:  "Because it's there."

Maybe I'll just follow his lead.

Otherwise, an answer would have to lie within the immediate resistance that surfaced when I faced this goal.  Something in me said not to attempt this.  This was difficult.  Possibly impossible for someone such as myself who has very ordinary DNA.

Nope, no super high lactate threshold or VO2 max for me.  No frighteningly low resting heart rate.  I sucked at high school sports.  I never went jogging till I was over 20 years old!  After only 8 on and off years of training can I do this?

So, of course, my brain is screaming at me to cease and desist this nonsense.  My primitive, reptilian brain is suggesting I better go hide under a rock lest I die!  After all, for The Death Race I had to sign a waiver that stated very simply, 3 words:  I may die.

A simple 5k usually has a whole page of waivers.  Obviously those waivers must be unnecessary if you readily sign you life away.  Literally.

And why do this when it will make my Ironman time so much slower than it should be?  Maybe I could break 10 hrs in Ironman TX, but probably not after ultra-running 100 miles two weeks prior.  Why jepordize excelling at a race to do mediocre at all?

No.  There are no straightforward answers.  Is it about ego?  Only in the indirect sense.  I have questions about who I am.  What can I survive?  How far can I push myself?  What are my limits?  It is only ego in so far as much as ego is a component in the desire for self discovery.

One can dial up 'ordinary' everyday.  And most people do try to escape it by booking a cruise ship to the Bahamas or touring vineyards in Napa.  That's good for them.  But something in me screams to shut up the voice that says I can't do something.  And currently part of me is saying I can't accomplish this goal, these four grueling races in succession.

And to me, that is motive enough.  Something worth pursuing even in the face up absolute failure.  It's hard to fail wine tasting in Napa.  You're not really putting yourself on the line.  And believe me, after I'm done with these races, I want a cruise to the Bahamas.  But I have some self discovery to attend to first.

And, I think I deliniated a route in the race schedule above.


  1. wow. just for trying, i owe you a drink in july back in NJ. godspeed friend.

  2. Jason,

    I really enjoy reading your blog posts. I have been struggling lately with my self confidence. Reading these posts helps put things into perspective.


  3. I'm very impressed. You definitely are living life the way it should be done. I wish some of that can rub off on me. Good luck with everything and continue to keep us posted. I guess my guitar is going to continue to collect mothballs!


  4. Kevin,

    Self confidence is one of the greatest obstacles in life. And I'm sure we aren't the only ones on the planet :) My whole life has been a screaming match between a piece of my mind yelling for me to run and hide, and a little, tiny voice saying: 'go for it'. Takes a lot of practice to hear the whisper, but it's there. I'm practicing to hear it daily, still.

  5. Jason, We met briefly at the farm during the snowshoe 100. Nice work gutting it out. When I heard you were sleeping in the coop I was a bit concerned that you were some type of masochist. Now it's clear your just busy badassing down there. I'm glad you have 20 days between TX and the DR. If you aren't hobbling when you get to the start line in Pittsfield you will be fine.