Running is good. Not to get into an argument but, as far as aerobic exercises go, it’s as good as it gets. Cyclists, yes you can get a good burn from going up a steep stretch . . . but what do you do on the downhill? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Swimmers, you impress me; I would attempt a triathalon if not for the embarrassment of waterwings. Alas, the governor of breathing and survival kicks in and you are forced into a painful anaerobic surrender . . . that is if boredom has not already made drowning an attractive option.
Yes, running is very good. You will live longer, improve your mental accuity, become more productive and regularly leap small furry animals in a single bound. But scratch a couple layers deep into a serious runner’s epidermis and you tap into a more narcissistic vein. Despite all the good, mastery takes a lot of time . . . the pursuit of miles the endorphin buzz a fit body the Boston unicorn a podium finish a t-shirt . . . this is inherently, like most hobbies, very personal and, at it’s heart, somewhat selfish.
I have struggled with this notion. And I feel very blessed to have family and friends who “get me” and kindly suggest that I go out for a little run when I get a bit edgy. Sometimes I get a bit edgy when it’s time to clean the house. Hey, it works.
But after many years of putting in the miles (30,000+, 35 marathons) and trying to do some good in the community (parks & trails commission, gateway rivers greenway, etc.), it’s about time to up the anty. I think I can do more. Maybe you can, too.
On August 18 at 4:00 AM I will be lining up to run my first ultra, the storied Leadville 100, one of the toughest distance races in the world. 30 hours to run 100 miles, all between 9200 and 12,600 ft above sea level. It is not uncommon for less than half the runners to finish the race. Can I do it? I honestly do not know. It scares the hell out of me. And I can’t wait to find out.
Selfish and narcissistic? Of course, but not quite so much this time because this will be the first time I have run a race for a cause. I don’t plan to do this often. Maybe never again. But I think the added pressure of the commitment to you and to the people this effort will support will help keep me focused on the hard work ahead. And we’ll do some good in the process.
The Life & Hope Fund is based at St. Luke’s Hospital in the ‘burbs of St. Louis, about 5 miles from our home. They help cancer patients and their families unprepared to deal with the financial hardships in the wake of their world being turned sideways by an unexpected and unplanned for diagnosis. The docs at St. Luke’s provide untold hours of pro bono support . . . and the Life & Hope Fund provides $$ for expensive medications, medical supplies, transportation, etc. I have met with the very good folks at the Life & Hope Fund and know they will use our donations wisely. The hospital provides the administrative overhead support, so the donated dollars go directly to those in need.
And, I am putting my money where my feet are. My wife and I will be matching the first $5000 donated to The Life & Hope Fund . . . so your $10 donation becomes $20, $50 becomes $100, $100 becomes . . . well, you can do the math. So, make me pay.
You can find my donation page at http://www.crowdrise.com/myleadfeat/fundraiser/ericstrand.
Thanks very much for helping provide life and hope . . . and some serious motivation to keep up the relentless forward motion in Leadville on August 18-19.