I’m sure you tried to anticipate potential challenges so that you could deal with them better. Have you had any surprises?
It’s really hard to anticipate things in a situation like this because there are only a handful of other people that have taken on something similar and documented it. You can anticipate that your body is going to rebel in the beginning days to the long distance and amount of time spent on your feet but you aren’t exactly sure how. You also don’t want to entertain too many thoughts about what challenges could arise before you start as you don’t want to deter yourself from starting. I went in with the thought that “I’m going to do this and we will figure things out as we go.” I’m pretty in tune with my body, what I’m capable of and my limitations so that’s really helped.
You are vegan. Has that affected your performance on this run?
It’s hard to say because I don’t have anything to compare it to. I haven’t done this same kind of thing on a different diet. I can say that I do feel well nourished, healthy, and strong even with what I am putting my body through right now. Whether or not I would feel different on a different diet I don’t know, but I’m getting all the nutrients I need so I’m happy.
Looking back at the past three weeks would you do anything differently?
No. Getting malaria in Indonesia wasn’t part of the plan and had some detrimental affects on my training. Instead of being able to begin training in November I was sick for almost a month in December and then had to start training from square one in January.
How did malaria affect your training?
I think at first I didn’t realize all of the effects that malaria had had on my body; at the time I was just happy to be alive and that was enough for me. I was in a place where I was contemplating if I was going to do the Ocean Rescue Run now or postpone it. When I decided firmly I was going to do it now and started training again, that’s when I started to notice the extent to which malaria had affected me. My first run was less than a km; I was out of breath like crazy. I had lost a lot of weight, most of it muscle mass, and so I had to rebuild that from scratch; I’m still rebuilding it today. As much as the malaria was frustrating to recover from, I really found a new appreciation for just how important my health is. I’m used to being a pretty strong guy and being able to perform at a high level so it was humbling for me. I really had to listen to my body more than before and work within some new boundaries.
What advice would you give to others looking to do something similar to what you are doing?
Just to get out there and do it. Make a plan, commit to it, and go. You can over think something and talk about it but it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t put those plans into action. You can have a lot of regrets and give in to your fear of failure or you can commit and give it your all and see what happens. I know this is probably over said, but enjoying the ride is a huge part of it. If you don’t enjoy the hard work something like this takes while being able to have a little fun at the same time, it’s really hard to see it through to the end. I think a lot of people underestimate what they are capable of both physically and mentally. When you try something new and challenging, your body adapts and your mind grows stronger.
What do you think about when you are on the road for 10 hours a day?
Not a lot to be honest. It’s tough being out there for that long every day over and over again. I zone out a lot of the time. The scenery is beautiful so that helps and there is a lot to look at whether it be natural beauty when in the country or along the coast or architecture and people when in the city. A lot of times I focus on my stride and breathing; I pay attention to my body to make sure I’m doing what I need to be doing in order to be as efficient as I can be. That being said, the whole idea for the Ocean Rescue Run came to me while I was on a run.
Are you happy with how things have gone up until this point?
I am. We had some physical challenges to deal with up front but we knew those were coming. I have to say that things have smoothed out quite nicely since then. Aside from the expected aches and pains of being on my feet for 10 plus hours a day, I feel good. We quickly realized that 65 km / 40 miles a day just wasn’t feasible and that to push myself to do it wouldn’t be beneficial in the long term so anything over 50 km / 31 miles is a good day. It is important to learn to be flexible in an endeavour like this. Overall I’m happy with where we are at and am curious to see how my body responds as we continue on.