52 marathons in 52 weeks
The author of Run Like Crazy did everything that is considered to be bad as far as looking after yourself and being fit for long distance runs. AND yet he nailed this most gruelling of running adventures.
He partied hard. Drank copious amounts of alcohol. Didn’t rest sufficiently between runs. His nutrition was haphazard. He was forced to sit in confined spaces in trains, planes, cars and buses almost immediately after each race. Most races were standard marathon 42.195kms but there were also a few 100km ultras. Some races went up mountains and one was in the freezing south on the continent of Antarctica.
What do I take away from this?
I take away mostly that the body is capable of so much more than we credit it for. And this guy doesn’t pay lip service to this belief, he puts flesh, bones and blaring reality to it. Over the course of 52 weeks he pushes his physical and mental strength to the extreme.
During this epic running adventure he took more than 20 minutes off his marathon PB despite never fully recovering from one single marathon. Some were back to back, one day after the next. He got faster and faster getting his PB down to three hours and three minutes. And I didn’t mention that before the start of this running journey he’d only done a handful of marathons.
There were niggles along the way and black toe nails but considering the physical stress he put his body under, he sailed through.
This makes me ask the question: Do we wrap ourselves up in cotton wool too much? As a boss of mine says sitting is the new smoking. Being still is hurting us badly. Us westerners are getting larger, slower and more and more unhealthy as a result. Those who don’t run look at those of us who do as somewhat abnormal. Sitting on a couch for hours after a work day of sitting in a desk chair is the norm. Runners defy the norm and get out and move vigorously and often.
Run Like Crazy? Totally crazy. Not all of us can take a year off and do what this guy did. His marriage broke up and he lost his job and someone introduced him to running all at the same time. He was brave enough to use this set of Job-like circumstances to recreate himself and set himself on a completely different life course. In so doing he put his body to the test and despite it being way beyond demanding he was able to push through and meet his goal. It was not only physical strength but mental toughness and the support of family and friends that got him through.
The book is an interesting read. Each chapter outlines each of the 52 races, the frantic travel, the heavy partying and the stress of making ends meet while on a rather expensive endeavour. It celebrates friendships and family relationships. Over the course of the year the author strips away the superficial and gets to what he considers to be the nectar and most valuable parts of life. I didn’t agree with all his philosophising but then he never set himself up to write a self-help book or to tell anyone how to live their life. The book is all about his story and what he did. It’s real and honest and a really good read. Did I mention he’s an Australian from Melbourne? It was sort of appropriate to be reading it while I’m here in the very city itself.
Run Like Crazy, I recommend it as a motivational read for any would-be distance runner of any length. Because let’s face it, even a 1km run is extreme if we’ve never done it before! I know it was for me.
Happy running 🙂
You know it’s true what is said about one day your warm up run will be a run that you only thought possible in dreams. Today I plodded out 16kms just like that. No drink stops, just a few jelly beans to take with me just in case. It never ceases to amaze me what the body is capable of. I might not be on as epic a journey as the Run Like Crazy dude but in my own little world I’m defying the odds. I’ve transformed myself into a runner AND in less than five weeks I will call myself a Marathoner. All of this is certainly because I have worked hard but it’s also because of the encouragement and belief from you. Thank you x