I have to admit that I am pretty tired of training for the NYC Marathon at this point. I’m tired of the regimented training plan and of the long solo runs which sometimes seem to take all day. I’m having difficulty talking myself into getting up in the pitch black to hit my sleepy streets before anyone is up and about. I keep working to find motivation to keep going.
One of the things I think about to motivate myself is another Team Fox member- Sam Fox (no relation to Michael J.). To me, running a marathon was an endeavor, something hard, but worth it. To Sam though, a marathon would be nothing! You see, he’s running/hiking the entire Pacific Crest Trail and trying to break the previous speed record by completing this 2,650 mile trail in 60 days. That means that he has to average over 44 miles per day. He has to keep this up through rain, snow in the mountains, and 90+ degree heat. He has to keep going on less sleep than I get a night, with blisters, with sore muscles, and with lots of alone time. I have no doubts there are times he thinks of quitting, but he hasn’t quit yet. In fact, he is over halfway done. He has covered over 1300 miles already, completely on foot.
On top of this crazy physical endeavor he is also, with the help of some amazing friends, working to raise $250,000 for a cure for Parkinson’s Disease to help his mom and others. He started his own non-profit RunWhileYouCan.org and is closing in on the halfway point to his dollar goal.
I’ve told a few people about Sam and his amazing quest and all of them have said some version of, “Why the heck would he do that?” That question strikes me as funny because I never asked it. I understand why he is doing this. Well, I understand the basic motivations and he will have some personal ones himself too. He’s doing this for the same reasons that I decided to run a marathon even though I had to start by running 2 blocks.
He’s doing this seemingly insane trek to help his mom, to show her how much he loves her. He’s doing this to bring awareness to a cause he believes in and holds dear. He’s doing this to push himself beyond what he thought was possible and to find that inner courage he has that helps him keep going even when his logical self screams STOP! He’s doing this to find something positive in a difficult situation and to prove to himself that he can persevere through tough challenges. In some way he’s doing it for himself and I’m sure after finishing something so huge he will never look at life the same way again.
I hope for him, like my marathon experience for me, he learns that the journey is what matters. Crossing that finish line is awesome, but it’s the months of hard work before that matter most. It’s also the amazing support from others that somehow shows up at the moments you need it most that he’ll never forget. It’s the friends that are his support crew for this 60 day journey. It’s the inspiring comment from a total stranger that fuels you through a tough 20 miles or the $10 completely unexpected donation from someone you just met. It’s the effect you unknowingly have on someone else to inspire them to do something they thought was impossible. It’s seeing the effect you have on your young daughter who at 6 decides she can run and finish a 5K whether you think she’s capable of it or not.
I’m sure that Sam has learned that he’s stronger than he ever imagined and that people are more giving and supportive than he’d realized. I bet he’s learned that he’s loved by many people and I hope he knows how many complete strangers are following his journey and wishing him only the best.
Like me if you ever want to give up on your own goals just think of Sam.