When we created Endurance Magazine in 2003, I was relatively new to the attitude of possibility that surrounded endurance sports.
Sure, I challenged myself before then, but in ways that were still “comfortable”. It wasn’t until my friend Chael Banks suggested I sign up for my first Ironman at Lake Placid in 2002, that I had the thrill of jumping in with both feet to something clearly beyond my established physical and emotional limits.
It would have helped to have done a little more research before signing up – I mean, I really couldn’t swim much beyond 50 meters in the pool but Chael, a collegiate swimmer, brushed off any apprehension I had by reminding me I had 11 months to figure it out. It was totally possible. And my lovely wife reminded me of that throughout the entire journey (as she was carrying our now almost 17 year old daughter in her stomach) – it so helps to have people believe in you ;)
That first experience with Ironman broke through a whole layer of self-imposed limitations and empowered me to have the courage to start something completely new when we moved to Chapel Hill, NC in 2002. We had zero experience publishing a magazine, producing events, or developing online registration platforms – but we had a great attitude, a lot of faith, and above all, passion about the positive impact of the endurance community. And you all never let us down.
Over the years we maintained a focus on what’s ahead – often celebrating the life-changing achievements of people from all walks of life. They all had/have one thing in common – they found life in pushing themselves through the uncomfortable limitations they previously had.
15 years after creating Endurance Magazine, we find ourselves in an entirely different place in life – teenagers roam our home with emotional needs that can be consuming, doctor’s suggest any pain or discomfort may be due to “just getting old” – time for a new doctor ;), nutrition that worked in the past no longer fits, and it takes 3x longer to establish a fitness habit, and any gains from your routine can be lost 3x as quickly if you take too much time off.
But that attitude of possibility remains and we adjust our approach to how to achieve the life-giving feeling that pushing ourselves delivers.
This month I was gifted with an invitation from another friend who is always looking to inspire people to enjoy life more through being uncomfortable. The Churham F3 squad was in need of a couple people to fill in for the Blue Ridge Relay (a 209 mile relay from Greyson Highlands, VA to Asheville, NC that runs every September along the Blue Ridge Parkway). Usually, teams of 6, 9, or 12 will train for months in the hot summer heat to prepare to tackle the unrelenting accents and descents that roll through the Blue Ridge. My good friend Jeremy Salemson (aka Blackball) hit me up on Labor Day (4 days prior to the event) to see if I could jump in to fill in the gap left by a couple guys who couldn’t make it. He’s a tough guy to say “no” to and he caught me at a time when I really needed something to shake up my routine.
Of course I wasn’t completely prepared to perform my best, but I found myself genuinely excited to be challenged in a way that I could overcome only by myself. When you take on events like these, you are left squarely with you – sure, there is a ton of support around you – but ultimately no one can move you forward. That’s left solely to you. And when your physical limits feel close, your emotional strength engages to help navigate you to the finish line.
I loved it! Even with the soreness in my body still remaining as I type this.
Few things make me feel stronger than crushing myself. I set targets for time for each leg and didn’t reach any of them. It was just plain hard. You need to prepare if you want to perform your best. Regardless, the experience was truly wonderful and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be out there with all the happy people. I can’t wait for the next time I get to join in the fun!
And thanks to all of you who have encouraged us at Endurance Magazine over this decade and a half. The challenges we’ve had have been more than outweighed but the positivity and support you all have extended to our growing community and we are truly grateful.
As a rule, we’ve never spent a lot of time looking back – even though there is a lot to learn from and appreciate from the past. We consciously look forward because that’s where we’re going. I look forward to seeing you out there!
Inspire. Perform. Endure.