Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Can I do this (do a marathon (half marathon) in all fifty states in a year) myself?
I have been asked this several times. A glib response is if you have to ask, you probably can't. But assuming they are capable, and just seeking as much knowledge as they can before embarking, here we go.
If you are an AB (able bodied) runner, sure, there are organizations that are dedicated to finishing races in all the states and/or doing a lot of races in a year. Join one or more, use their tools and start training.
I'm going to concentrate on the people with physical deficits, it is a challenge. First, there many races at which we are not welcomed. AB's have all kinds of options, we have have to go where and when to the races that will have us. Scheduling is a huge challenge.
"Myself" is a loaded term in the adaptive sports world. We have equipment, tools, everyday wheelchairs to/from starting/finishing lines. The methods to mark the course is often better for runners than wheelers.
As impolite as it is to answer a question with a question, I'll do it now. How have you done at supported races? By supported races, I mean races that either the race organization or third party organizations help with transportation of wheelchairs, transfers, etc. Not all races provide support, some do. Achilles International is an organization that provide support at some races.
If you did well at the supported races, then you have a chance at the "unsupported" races. Also, the less support you actually need in the supported races, the better your chance of completing an unsupported race. In general, unsupported races are more common. What I mean by unsupported races is races that allow us to participate and probably they do nothing more than maybe let us start first. We are responsible for getting our gear and everyday chairs to where we need them to be. You can self support like I do when needed, or bring your own support team (family, friends, ne'er do wells performing community service, etc.). If you can't self support, your expenses go up, more people to get to and from the races.
To undertake a 50 state plan I think it is important to be able to:
Maintain your hygiene and health while traveling.
Know the signs of when you need to seek medical attention from complications from your physical deficits.
Know your body and what foods/fuels you need before, during, and after travel and races.
Do routine maintenance on your racing chair. (You'll be in different states and cities where you may not be able to find help to fix or make adjustments).
Improvise repairs before and during the race. (Scheduling is tight, a DNF (did not finish) makes you come back later, and in some states that may not be possible. Equipment failure may make you incredibly slow, but if you can persevere, you can get the finish).
Problem solve when your hotel room is not as accessible as you need it to be.
Be organized with schedule and travel plans.
Be able to undertake extensive travel.
Tolerate (understand what you must do in) inclement weather (heat, cold, wind, rain, snow, and sun).
It is a little of a chicken and the egg problem. You will definitely get better at all of the above skills as you do a 50 state plan. I just recommend some trial trips first to know what you are undertaking.
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
The question comes from a quote:
"Good judgment comes from experience
Experience comes from poor judgment"
Has be attributed to many different sources. For me to attribute it to anyone would probably be wrong and perpetuate a wrong attribution. I can accurately state, they are not my words and were originally coined by someone else.
In that spirit, what was my good judgment, what was my experience building choices?
Good Judgement: When you want to accomplish something, just do it.
I was working on this plan for a number of years. First with the schedule, getting the races I needed in a schedule that would work. Eventually I created a schedule that worked. Then the next year, some races changed their weekends. Others ceased operation. Some even changed their policies allowing wheelchairs. So mathematics to the rescue, developing some theorems and procedures to make the scheduling more likely to succeed.
No sooner than I made the commitment to 2016 and registered for races, and then some new opportunities arose that would have made 2017 physically easier to achieve my goal. WIth the changes races make over time, it is also possible that nothing better ever arrives, and in fact it could get harder over time. Bottom line: You can always wait for something better or do it now.
Experience building department, just do it.
The first few races were brutal, travel was difficult. I had never finished a race dead last, but during the race that I did (third state of the 51 total), I remember thinking over and over, what have I done? am I going to survive? should I just quit now?
After it is all over I learned that I committed myself to an adventure, I not only survived, but thrived, and I can persevere.
Tomorrow: Answering the questions I get if someone else can do this?
Monday, January 30, 2017
I learned there are a lot of nice/helpful people out there.
There is a lot of stunningly scenic views throughout the country, often revealing the local geological history.
In a presidential election year, radio can be hard to listen to from February to November.
A lot of wheelchair accessible hotel rooms aren't.
Weather forecasts are best used for guidance and one should always hedge against other outcomes.
Driver's Ed has been replaced by GTA
A lot of drivers are either focused on their lap while using one hand on the steering wheel or they are texting/facebooking. Either way, they are looking down way too long.
Drafting very close to car bumpers is the new driving style. I remain firmly in the old fashioned 2 secs behind the car in front of me school of driving.
Tomorrow, Has my judgement improved?
Sunday, January 29, 2017
Saturday, January 28, 2017
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Judge as you will. I am comfortable taking the victory lap. In some ways, what I did was even harder than what I set out to do originally. The pressure of finding a marathon and travel arrangements at the last minute was a logistical feat in itself.