Let me back up a second and explain this run. It was NOT a race, it was an event I put together for a charity called Kidsport. I had wanted to give back to the athletic community for years but I couldn't quite give the financial support I wanted to. One day I realized I should be thinking what I DO have to give instead. My answer was endurance and mental toughness, so maybe I could use that to inspire other people to donate. I chose a major local highway (theSea to Sky), and said I would run 160kms from Vancouver to Pemberton if I could raise Kidsport $10 000. Usually these runs are done in the trails so the fact this was on pavement left easier footwork, but a lot more strain on the joints. It was an amazing experience, and something I'll never do on the road again!
Here is my story:
Why 160kms ? "If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee . My 1st goal was to find a way to give back and I'm so pumped to have raised over $11 200 for Kidsport. Next was to learn something. I couldn’t remember the last time I tested mental toughness past a new boundary. This did that.
There was never a moment when I doubted finishing, but the control over my thoughts started to weaken. At 65, 70km my brain started leaking, "ha!!! not even half way!" I had to take control, to pull the thoughts back in, 5km at a time. "We will get you 80km and then you're on the back end. The long term goal is just the first 100km”. Then a few kms would go by, "you did 100km, let’s get to Whistler, then home stretch to Pemberton”.
It got dark, my skin started to tear. I found a good rhythm for a bit until I felt the skin break and could feel the blood from under my toenails. At 121kms, Andy taped up my feet and then next goal was just get up Whistler.
One step at a time we made it up and over the mountain. Now my back was in spasm and pulling my rib out and my left ankle blew up. My brain would laugh, "just over 24kms to go! that’s 2 hours on a good day so who the F&$@!! knows how long this will be!" Pull it back in, just 1km at a time now. "Tomorrow will come, so will Monday. This day will end. One inch at a time, you're going to make it"
The crew was fading too. It was well past 2am.
We inched along until Andy saw the end. I thought the pain was over but didn't realize the adrenaline had numbed me. An hour later it started to fade. My feet, my knees, my hips, my back all throbbing. I broke in that moment "you didn't really do this Hil, you walked a lot, it doesn't count".
Today I know that's not true. That distance requires walking portions, but maybe it’s that thought that makes me better. I could have run more. We can always get better. We can always get faster, stronger, and tougher. That's the thought that keeps me learning, so I'll keep it.