Simply because you can…
This Saturday, members of Defy and Outlaw North came together to tackle an epic challenge.
We rode 50km, ran 50km and got back on the bike for another 50km ride – just to wash things down!
There were five people who took on the whole challenge and another dozen or so who did various parts.
To top it off, we raised funds for Holland Bloorview Children’s Rehab Hospital – we are currently at $6000!! Double our original target. You can donate HERE.
One of the participants asked me a question at the start. He said “What do you say to someone when they ask you why you’re doing this?” He explained that people had been asking him and he didn’t really have an answer.
At the time I replied “Don’t bother explaining, some people get it but most people don’t.”
Well maybe this will help a few more understand…
50-50-50 – A challenge I had seen done over in Dubai a few years ago. Something about this appealed to me. It’s less work on the bike than an Ironman but that extra 8km on the run isn’t to be sniffed at. Plus triathlons end with the run which is generally the most taxing on your body.
This was something I was going to do. So I gathered a team, organized some fundraising and set a date. All of which gave everyone involved some extra accountability. That’s the best thing about setting these kinds of goals – you have something to be accountable too.
I’m not an endurance athlete naturally. I’m around 200lbs, have lifted weights for the last 17 years, played soccer, competed in CrossFit and ran 100m back in school. I hated cross country when we had to do it.
In 2019 a friend told me he had registered for a Ironman which was about 8-12 weeks away – cool I’m in!
I believe in the functional fitness method of training with some extra application to whichever sport you want to use your fitness in.
That is where my endurance journey began and it’s been fun, well kinda fun. I don’t love or believe in the long “junk miles” that a lot of people put in and I’ve experimented with minimal mileage and shorter harder workouts whilst still strength training and walking on my hands (totally functional).
The Ironman 70.3 went ok – 5hrs 20mins which was slowed with some cramping due to poor hydration.
Later in 2019 – a 3 hour 20mins marathon which was fantastic when 14km was the longest build up run.
2020 was a bit of a write-off (for life in general) so I got back to what I love and lifted heavy for a while with no endurance work at all. The full Ironman that was planned for 2020 was deferred to 2021.
So when I started training in December for the Ironman in July 2021, I still wasn’t sure (and I’m still not) if I could attend the event. So the 50-50-50 challenge was a good one to throw in there and test the waters.
Everyone should try their hand in endurance events. Life is an endurance event itself. The tools and mindset developed in a long arduous challenge will literally Get You Better At Life!
This weekend was unique. Most events like organized marathons, Ironman events or even local 5-10km runs, have lots of competitors and crowds. We had a very small group that rode together for the first 50km and then most of the time we were alone or in groups of 2-3.
Crowds give you energy, distract your mind from the pain and help push you through the event. The roads this weekend were empty, lonely and uninspiring.
It’s not about medals or cheers or even how long it takes. It’s about discovering what this crazy wonderful body & mind we’ve all been given can actually do. Some people psychically can’t explore their limitations but most people don’t even try and never understand how gifted they really are.
It is impossible to exert your body for multiple hours and not go through some pretty miserable times. This is where the learning comes in. Which voice is louder and how strong are you mentally.
The second half of the run was my test this weekend. A very unexpected knee pain developed very early on in the run. I never have knee pain, every other pain, but never knee pain. This threw me off. I’m trying to think why and how and what was going to happen. At around the 30km mark, it was unbearable. I had to slow the pace drastically and it turned into survival.
I was pissed but quitting was never an option. I had to adjust expectations and figure out how to walk/run and hobble to the finish, whilst wondering if I could even ride a bike at this point.
I was thinking “this is dumb” – “I’m not doing these things again” – “lifting weights and CrossFit are way more fun” – I was in a dark place. The final loop of the run (we did 4×12.5km loops for the run portion) I went in the opposite direction just to change the scenery and see if the guys behind me were suffering the same – they were!
Two legends, Gina & Chrysta, were cycling around the run loops and handed me some bars and an electrolyte drink about 3km from the end. This lifted spirits a little – thanks!
Getting back to the car I was relieved but still had 50km on the bike to finish this thing off. I changed quickly and got on the bike, I could ride! Cool, let’s get moving.
Apart from being a bit tired and not being able to put too much power down, the bike leg wasn’t too eventful and I finished 9-10 hours after we started. Michelle joined for the last ride and got me up some of the hills!
A few fist bumps and that was it – done. A great day and another thing I know my body can do. Pain, suffering and discovery – A beautiful combination.
Despite the thoughts during the challenge, I’m already thinking about the next one! That’s the beauty – until you fail, you never know what’s possible.
I think the answer to “Why are you doing something like this” is…
“Simply because I can”
I’d like to thank everyone who participated in this event with me this weekend. Thanks to Jay for organizing his Outlaw North crew and to Rob for accompanying me for the first 30km of the run and everyone else who did their part.
I’d also like to thank everyone who has donated to the cause. It means a lot and helped align the thoughts during some of the tough times.
You can still donate HERE if you would like to.
As a final thought – find something to challenge yourself with and set a goal to make it happen. If you can’t think of anything then I’ll have something in the future so get training.
Do Hard Things…