"I've realized I can't unverb my life, I have to be doing something. The question is what?"

Into the Unknown…

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Davey, Jason, and Mike

Davey, Jason, and Mike

Post Run Mug Shot

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Changing the World by Incredible Means: The List

I found myself sitting at the threshold of life with a decision before me; what ought I do with my life?

To pencil it simply, these are what I have found so far:

Personal/Relationally

  • help one person change their life for the better
  • grow a dynamic friends with someone culturally, linguistically, and intellectually different from me
  • help to release children from the bonds of poverty and trafficking in tangible ways

Physically

  • Run for a collegiate team [completed 2007 – 2011]
  • Run a marathon [completed April 11th, 2011]
  • Run the Badwater Ultramarathon
  • Run a Trail Ultramarathon
  • Bike Across America [completed July 24th, 2011]
  • Run across America
  • Hike to Machu Picchu
  • Climb Mt. Everest
  • Cross the Bering Strait on foot
  • Complete an Ironman
  • Complete a double Ironman
  • Swim the English Channel

Geographically/Linguistically

  • Visit every continent
    • North America
    • South America
    • Europe
    • Asia
    • Australia
    • Antarctica
    • Africa
  • Swim in every ocean
    • Pacific
    • Atlantic
    • Indian
    • Arctic
    • Southern/Antarctic
  • Learn a second language fluently
    • Spanish
    • Russian
  • road trip across the USA [July 25th-July 31st, 2011]
  • Visit every state in America
    • Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming [23/50]
  • Travel by land across another continent

Economically/Fiscally/Philanthropically/Professionally

  • Start a business
  • Become Debt Free
  • Use ”physical” to donate over 1,000,000 dollars to better the world throughout my lifetime. [~$7000/1,000,000]
  • Spend a year working/volunteering overseas to aid the poverty effort
  • Become a public speaker
  • Write a book

Minimalistically

  • Pay nothing on housing for a year.
  • Live without owning a car for a year. [Started May 28th, 2011]
  • Live without using motorized transport for a month.
  • Own less than 300 items.
  • Produce less than 5 lbs. of trash for a year.

Planning for the Portland 26.2

The registration asked me to give the name of my training plan and to list any cross training so checked the box in front of bicycling.  Here I am, halfway across America, on a bike, signing up for the second marathon of my life.  I imagine I shouldn’t be surprised at myself; throughout this trip I have met people much more intense than myself–in fact, Brett comes to mind, he rode 170 miles on his bike in one day up to a marathon he ran the next day and then rode the 170 miles back the day after the marathon.  So to make a long story short, If you are going to be in Portland on October 9th, 2011 I hope we cross paths, though I may be a little tired.


The Characters of Marathon

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26.2 is a number.  By itself it is not especially intimidating or of mention, other than it would be an abnormal number to choose at random but when 26.2 is followed by the statute unit of the mile it becomes something more–namely, a marathon.  Marathons hold a certain aura about them.  There is a certain honor to being able to say, “I have run a marathon.”  Perhaps it harkens back to the soldier Pheidippides and his heralding of the victory from the Battle of Marathon back to Athens by foot.  Or perhaps it is the common story it creates among people giving them something in common, some common battle that has been fought and won.  In any case, countless marathons are run each year and countless more people toe the starting line of each of these throughout the generations.

There is something to being at the starting of a marathon.  Some may call it free energy, others nervousness, or tension but whatever it is you could cut it with a knife at Vernonia that morning.  Even my non-running friend said, “man at the starting line, It was so energizing. I though, ‘Hey, I could do this.'”  (To which he adds, “but at the finish line I changed my mind”).  My training partner calls this character “The Euphoria” and I will follow suite.  The Euphoria can drive you to do ridiculous things like going out with the lead pack or running 30 seconds under your intended pace.  It feels so easy with the endorphins rushing through your bloodstream.  From the gun at Vernonia I proceed to cover the first 5280 feet in a hair under 6 minutes and 8 seconds–I time which in middle school I ran faster than only once for PE.  Ask me about it now and I know I was an idiot.  At the time for some reason, I thought I wasn’t. I wanted to believe I could run better than a 2:40 marathon on my first try.  So Euphoria is the first character here are the rest of his friends…

Euphoria came hand in hand with the next character who goes by the name “The Knowing.”  The Knowing is there as an inkling from the beginning steps of the first mile.  It is there telling the protagonist, “You know this is too fast.  Your heart rate is too high. There is no way you can maintain this.” But for the first miles Euphoria shouted, “You can do this! Keep going, keep going, keep going!”  “The knowing” is the wise old uncle who seems to have done everything, always providing sound advice–which you don’t want to listen to.   However, not listening is the action which queues the next character to ease onto stage.

“The Pain” is a brutal character, coming on stage in the early double digit miles only to pummel the confidence and strength from the protagonist.  He burns, he aches, and he stabs at every weak point.  Even worse, the more the protagonist continues to fight the stronger the Pain becomes.  Following behind Pain is “Emotions”.

Now, Pain was a slow worker but Emotions is slower and subtler still.  As Pain beats up on the outside of our courageous protagonist, Emotions quietly starts to decompose him from the inside.  Emotions starts with a few simple words–“you have so far to go” or “this hurts so bad” or “I need to stop”.  Soon, Emotions is replacing stalwart stoicism with whimpering disheartenment, confidence of success with fear of failure, and the heart of a warrior with the desires of cowardice.  As the marathon continues, Emotions (with Pain’s brutal help) manages draw tears and whimpers from the protagonist at a few intervals.

This continues up until the final mile when old uncle Knowing chimes in, “Hey, you’re going to make it. You chose to do it the hard way but you are going to make it.”  Upon hearing this the protagonist is overwhelmed and Emotions continues with a different ploy drawing all the work of Pain, the strain from mental exertion, and the thoughts of being successful–the tears and crying well up.

Then the Finish. At the finish, Emotions lets out one last rush as he admits he’s been beat–if only Pain did the same.  The Finish brings gifts for the protagonist in the form of a medal, a silver blanket, and a drink to toast to victory.  The battle has been well fought and won…

After you finish a marathon, you have the biggest sugar crash of your life, every muscle in your body wants to cramp, and you feel super cold all over….A warm shower really helps.  A word of advise, “Take it easy, you have 26 miles to go.”

Miles to go before we sleep,

Jason