Discovering my "Cool Impossible", and what I am made of?

“Planning is where time and goal intersect. If you have a period of time in which to achieve a goal, you can plan accordingly and succeed.”
~Hal Higdon~

With the revelation that I am capable of more than I ever thought before the question posed to me and by me is, what’s next? I decide for a while I want to see if I can still get my runs in without a schedule. Besides, every mile I have run this past year has been on a set schedule and I am tired of schedules right now. I want to just run because I want to run and not because I have to, so let’s take some time to regroup and see what happens. I am pleasantly surprised that I do want to run and I am going out in the morning without having to do it for a specific reason. I read Eric Orton’s book 'Cool Impossible' (he coached Christopher McDougal during “Born to Run”) and more ideas and inspiration along with refocusing on form. The objective of the Cool Impossible is to pick something completely crazy that basically scares the crap out of you and go after it.

People keep telling me I should sign up for a marathon, so I think about running so many miles on the street. First thought is a lot of people do marathons and then they stop training and have to start all over again. I have seen people sign up and deep down not have the true desire to put the training in, after they complete the marathon they are completely burned out. I need to find something I can completely focus on and get lost in, so what inspires me? What scares me is an easier question because I over think everything. But what does both of these and could be amazing to accomplish is a better question. The one thing that has intrigued me for a while is completing a 50K on a trail. There we have it, my Cool Impossible in a nut shell. Now to do some research and find one that would be challenging but virgin friendly. After an extensive search I came up with the Trail Mix race Minnesota in April of 2013 which seemed to fit the bill. It was in the spring, close enough to drive to and the course is four 12.5K loops and is a combination of trails and a cross country style. Every seven and three quarter miles you come by the start/finish area with access to supplies, bathrooms, and supporters. I like this idea and the course and scenery look very appealing to me. My wife/coach Kristen and I talk about possibilities and goals of participating in a 50K and I told her at this point my only goals are to finish before the cut off time and before the EMT’s leave. You laugh but I am serious; what messed up my first half marathon was thinking I could stick with a certain pace, but now I want to do it, enjoy the experience, and just finish and survive.

If for one second it sounds like I have this all figured out, and in the back of my mind I am not screaming Holy $#@% am I really thinking about doing a 50K? Then you would be very wrong, I just thought I would throw that out there. We all have those voices and thoughts that try to derail us from something that we know we can do but for some reason internal self talk can be very powerful. It will always be there and need to be dealt with in one way or another. Some people use it like a challenge to motivate them to prove the voice wrong. I choose to acknowledge it as nothing more than a thought which can only control you if you allow it to. Remember that a thought is nothing more than a fear expressing itself, it does not become real unless you believe what it is saying. The message here is that everyone has fears, negative thoughts and little voices along the way so don’t make them real and they will lose there power.

For now I am taking the advice of a friend and ‘putting miles in the bank’ and telling myself ‘this is what I’m doing right now.’ 


  1. This is such a huge, inspiring goal! You can, and will I have no doubt, achieve it. But you're right about commitment. This is going to be one of those no fudging goals. Failure to prepare will very likely result in failure to achieve. My favorite kind of goal-- the only kind of goal, really.

    1. You are correct that it is a huge goal and I found myself questioning all of it during my race today. I will go into that more in a short race summary post. One thing that I was thinking was that I still could set this goal and not tell everyone about it which would take a lot of pressure off. But what fun would that be? We will be comparing training notes along the way this winter.


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