When I’m not out in the woods exploring the natural world at an excruciatingly slow pace, I get my thrills trying to run as fast and far as I possibly can. I’ve been at the former for as long as I can remember – the captains of my college cross country team gave me least improved since 2nd grade (I ran a 6:54 in PE). It wasn’t until college that I started to think about the second part of that question. I was already doing 14-16 mile long runs out and back on the bike path in Chicago. But the bike path kept going. Could I. My junior year I decided to run north and just keep on going until I got to Kenosha, Wisconsin. This was back before I knew you needed to fuel and hydrate while running. Having run 70 miles, I missed the train back home by 5 minutes. So I settled down at a diner, ate 2 plates of pasta and wondered if Kenosha was the end of the line or if that trail to my edge kept going.
Over the next two months I’ll be pursuing answers to these questions: How far and how fast can I go culminating in a 100 mile race where I’ll go in way over my head and try and set the world record for the distance. While I train for the race, I’ll use the natural world as some barometer to understand what endurance actually is. In this newsletter and the Single Acorn podcast, I’ll share my insights and what I learn about other species who are trying to out-stride, out-sing, out-grow, and out-do the competition. In the words of Quentin Cassidy (fictional running legend) “You don’t become a runner by winning a morning workout. The only true way is to marshal the ferocity of your ambition over the course of many day, weeks, months, and (if you could finally come to accept it) years. The Trial of Miles; Miles of Trials.” So sit back in the comfort of your recliner and join me through my trial of miles.