It all started with a bookmark
In the past few years, I’ve had plenty of life altering events that have proven to be mere stepping stones in the course of my development as a person. Moving to college, my first collegiate lacrosse game, graduation, my first full-time job and living on my own for the very first time are just a few. Each of these events made me dig deep and figure out a little more about who I was, but also happened over several years with lots and lots of support.
Well, the time has come to add yet another couple of “stepping stones” to that list. The difference, however, is that I won’t be moving along the normal life events like graduation, moving away, finding your first job, etc… Now, as I’ve mentioned before, I am voluntarily going to push my mind and body further than they’ve ever been pushed. I’m going to see what I’m really made of at the end of the day. The truth is, it all started with a bookmark…
Years ago when I was only in middle school, my mom bought me a dolphin bookmark in an effort to get me to read a little more. Despite strongly disliking books, I did enjoy the bottom half of that bookmark. What my mom hoped would inspire me to read as I worked through school only fueled a fire to push myself to beat any odds that came my way. That bookmark simply read “You never know how far you can go until you try”. Years later, I am still trying to find out how far I can go and it all starts this summer!
On July 14th I will fly to Leadville, CO to start my five night journey into the mountains of our country’s highest city at an altitude over 10,000 ft. After several days of training at high altitudes, a good friend and I will run the Leadville 50 trail race on July 18th. The Leadville 50 is an ultramarathon that takes place in one of our country’s oldest mining cities. Historic Leadville is one of the prettiest places to visit and is home to some of the toughest bike and foot races. With just under a month until race day, I feel prepared to take on such a tough endeavor. After months of training, a strict diet, 2 pairs of running shoes and the insanity that comes with signing up for a race like Leadville, I am anxious to get this thing started. I suppose the irony in a race like this is that no matter how much you train, you rarely push your body or mind past its limits like you do during an ultramarathon. On race day (like a football or hockey team in the playoffs), you never really know who will show up. Will Tyler with a chip on his shoulder show up or calm, relaxed “ready to work” Tyler come to run?
The best part about Leadville is you never know what you’ll get. Maybe downpours, scorching heat or even a little snow. There aren’t crowds of supporters, big sponsors or music to keep you going. You won’t find many people to your left or right and chances are you’ll start and finish the race in the dark. What better way to find out who you are than to rely on you and only you for such a significant period of time in such difficult terrain. When all is said and done, I’ll be able to give some more truth to the quote on that bookmark.
Thought I was finished? HA! Within one month after Leadville, I will be racing my first Triathlon. The Chicago Tri will take place August 29th and I can’t wait. I’ve been doing so much cross training for Leadville that I feel fully prepared for the Triathlon. Within a month of the Triathlon I will race the Chicago Half-Marathon followed by the Chicago Marathon on October 1oth and the Men’s Health Urbanathlon after that. In four months I will have completed several of the toughest forms of racing out there including every competitive race that Chicago has to offer.
Most of you might be asking, “WHY?!” Great question, but in every case I only find the answer “Why not?” appropriate. Just like the bookmark (that never got me reading…) I will never know how far I can go until I try. By the end of summer I hope to have survived a season of firsts and learned a little more about how far Tyler can go when he’s pushed. And to think, it’s all because of a bookmark…