Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Journey of 7,609 Miles Begins with a Single Step - What Confucius & Forrest Gump have in common

So y'all know I love my inspirational quotes.  I throw them in Tweets, BLOGS (see below), post them on all social media outlets available to me, each quote is a log stoking my own personal fire of inspiration.  I love sharing what inspires me to help each of you (my family, my friends and my readers) learn to keep your own fire burning hot (the inspiration fire, for this analogy).  This morning was a really surreal start to a Thursday.  Many know that my favorite morning nearly every week is Thursday morning, as 99% of the time it starts with a Coyote trail run and 30-60 badass trail runners of the noob and advanced variety, and everything in between.  Today's run was full of unique circumstances and nostalgia, and since you're here, I'd love to take you on part of the journey with me...
Parker Mesa Overlook, off of the Los Liones trail called "the Chute" also accessed by Paseo Mirimar fireroad
"A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step."

Kate and I running Route 66 miles together
Today marked my 1,000th run in the last 5 years.  Now this may seem silly for someone who heads up a group like the SoCal Coyotes, and maybe even trite for someone who has completed 11 races of 100 miles or further.  Yet I found myself thinking of the run Kate and I did together from Chicago to Santa Monica on the Route 66, which took us about 16-17 days in May/June of 2012, the Run It Forward tour.  There were 8 ultra runners (and a few more support crew who ran a leg here and there), and we completed the route with each of us averaging around 20-25 miles each day.

I started to do a little math in my head.  I started running this block of training on November 21st, 2006.  2,494 days have passed since.  By the averages, I'm running once every 2.5 days (or about 3 times per week).  Since 2006, I've actually logged an average of 5-6 runs per week (let's say 5.5 to split the difference).  My present cycle of running began in late-August, 2003.  It's been 3,673 days since then.  If one assumes I've run 5.5 times per week (on average) and rounds my 7.6 mile per run average down to 7.25 miles, it gives me a pretty safe estimate of around 40 miles per week, which considers weeks off, and a slow build up from August of 2003 to April of 2004.  40 miles per week times 525 weeks (how long it's been since the last week of August in 2003) is 21,000 miles (or my best guesstimate of how much I've run this past decade, a little over 2,000 miles per year).

Why do all these numbers matter?  Well, really, they don't, but we humans give everything meaning.  So, whilst I was running with Rachel this morning, I realized how difficult it was to START running again, from ground zero.  I recalled a week in late-May of 2001 when I promised my friend Troy "I will walk 2 blocks to get groceries" and I couldn't even do that.  I trained for 4 marathons before I finished my first.  Lack of motivation, sickness, injury, I withstood setback after painful setback, and the physical pains often led to much more complicated emotional pain and suffering.  I saw an opening when I finally went for that first run in late-May 2001, I felt liberated running down this fairway on a golf course near my apartment, and I never wanted to lose that feeling again.  I elected to go to a marathon I knew I couldn't finish (San Diego Rock'n'Roll in June of 2001, the first of the four I trained for before I finished the Chicago Marathon in October of 2002).

Y'all know I get hokey from time to time (so here goes): after picking up my bib at the SD R'n'R expo (a race I didn't plan to complete), I walked by a palm reader / fortune teller.  She said many things but one thing I buried in my subconscious was "you will be a very successful author, and have a few well regarded books."  Now, you can say what you want about fortune telling, fortune cookies (yum, best stale dessert ever), and horoscopes being incredibly general so everyone can relate, but this was something that in my mind (back then) was not on the radar, at all.  I thought to myself, "hahahaha, she picked the wrong dude for that generalization."  And while it remains to be seen how many books I write and how successful and well regarded they are, what I recalled this morning sent chills up my spine.  The first chapter of my book is titled: Breaking Through Inertia and is 100% about May of 2001 and the lead in to the SD R'n'R Marathon.  I'm still doing mental cartwheels over that one.

"Wherever I went, I. WAS. RUN-NING!"
“I don't know if we have a destiny, or if we're all just floatin' around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it's both. Maybe both is happenin' at the same time."
-Forrest Gump

So back to the numbers, and the meaning behind them.  At one point I thought I might never be healthy enough to run a marathon: remember that I trained for FOUR before finishing one part?  Then, after Chicago in 2002, I developed stage 3 patellar tendinitis less than a month later and was OUT of running again for 10 months.  At that point, I honestly thought I'd never run again.  So looking back on a decade where I've (hypothetically) run more than 20,000 miles and have a record for 7,608, that got me thinking about Forrest Gump and his run back-and-forth-and-back-and-forth-again across the US.

Just taking my verified mileage total, following a hypothetical route that Forrest could have run: I have (virtually) run from Montgomery, Alabama (Forrest started in the fictional city of Greenbow, so I used Montgomery to estimate distances) to the Santa Monica Pier, all the way across the country to a pier in Maine, back to Montgomery and I'm all the way to Colorado City, Texas (just west of Sweetwater) en route to the Santa Monica Pier again.  I'm not here to boastfully brag about it, but rather to say for someone who thought they'd never run again, for someone who was so depressed that I couldn't get out my front door to WALK TWO EFFING BLOCKS failing 7 days in a row when I promised my buddy Troy I would, well, if I can do all that, then YOU TOO can do ANYTHING.  That doesn't mean running, per se, you can do ANYTHING you dream of doing.  Um, okay, KAMF and Panda, please do NOT act on your dream of actually FLYING, this might not be the best "you can do anything" outcome.

To the rest of you: don't be reasonable about your goals.  Dream BIG.  Like Everest BIG.  Moon BIG.  And don't get overwhelmed by the enormity of it (you will from time to time, but then let the overwhelm go).  Be inspired by something that is so much bigger than you.  This is your one chance at this life, so do something so massive that it inspires so many people, that you suddenly find yourself inspired by yourself.

You can do it.  Now stop READING and do something about it.  Right. NOW.  Even if it's just simply writing that goal or dream down, you know, the one you keep rationalizing is not really possible.  It is.  Make it happen.  I believe in you!

SUCCESS (a poem by Berton Braley*)
If you want a thing bad enough
To go out and fight for it,
Work day and night for it,
Give up your time and your peace and your sleep for it,
If only desire of it
Makes you quite mad enough never to tire of it,
Makes you hold all other things tawdry and cheap for it,
If life seems all empty and useless without it
And all that you scheme and you dream is about it,
If gladly you’ll sweat for it, fret for it, plan for it,
Lose all your terror of God or man for it,
If you’ll simply go after that thing that you want
With all your capacity, strength and sagacity,
Faith, hope and confidence, stern pertinacity,
If neither cold poverty, famished and gaunt,
Nor sickness nor pain of body or brain
Can turn you away from the thing that you want,
If dogged and grim you besiege and beset it,
You’ll get it.

            *huge thanks to Jon Clark for that shout out!  Much love, my brutha!

Brian Lhee wrote one of his dreams down, now he's off to ICELAND!
Okay, here goes.  I'm even going to make STEP 1 of this 1,000 mile (or much longer) journey easy on you.  Post a comment (below) with your biggest dream/goal that you're presently either already working on or were previously not willing to admit.  POST it here and release it to the universe.  Because I'm rooting for you.  And I won't be the only one...

#JustPostIt  (yeah, I couldn't help myself there)


kate martini said...

Awesome read!

Presently I'm working on training for my next 100 miler *gulp*, I'm going sub-24 hours Nov. 16th!

Secretly I'm working on taking over the word, muahhhahahaa!! Nah, really I'm creating a really cool year long painting project.

A lifelong journey of mine is traveling with my amazing husband to all the incredible places we'll visit around the world.

Jacette Valenzuela said...

I can't even begin to express how incredibly well timed this post was. I just left a pile of papers at work, knowing I'd be back at 4am, only to pick up where I left off.

So here I am, goals in mind and heart and spirit.

I want to be a published author

I want and will finish the first short film and post it to YouTube, open for criticism.

I want to run 100 milers (as in more than one)

It's not going to happen tomorrow, but I will make it happen. Thank you JDF, seriously.

Unknown said...

Nice one, Jimmy Dean. When I was suffering (SUFFERING) at Headlands 50 miler last weekend just to get a Western States qualifier, I passed through the Tennessee Valley aid station at mile 46 and I vividly remember you passing me there one year during Miwok, and I asked your name and you said James Dean. It made me laugh. You said, "C'mon, man, let's go!:" and that made me laugh more (inside).

Just wanted to share that.

Hope to see you going up that hill before Robinson Flat during states one year soon!


simrend said...

Angeles Crest 2014. I'm terrified.

Scott Kummer said...

I will run at the Hardrock 100