Lift your sole: Project Talaria

Everyone knows the Olympics are on. I am as much a sucker for being glued to the TV at odd hours as most of us. I am cheering on my country, I am inspired by what the athletes are doing and I am amazed at the stories and dedication and lean bodies.

But also on my mind are another sort of more personal “Olympics” which has inspired me. We each have goals that we train, strive, challenge and better ourselves towards. Some of these goals are bigger than others. Last weekend when I was racing the great Mt. Washington GutBuster, I also met two guys (aka Project Talaria) with a goal. One of the runners I have met a few times before as he is often at our run clinic workouts. (And to clarify this I mean that he is there, and I see him go by: he is lapping me as we do hill or speed workouts). The other I met briefly the night before the race. Both are super dedicated, amazing athletes and great people. You can’t help but be infected by their enthusiasm.

Their goal has been set to running the Leadville 100 (miles, people) race in Colorado. As a runner, I see this race as an event of Olympic proportion: you don’t attempt this (or even sign up for it) without some determination, will, and strong knees (or high threshold to pain). The course is a “100-mile out-and-back course is in the midst of the Colorado Rockies. Low point, 9,200 feet; high point is Hope Pass, 12,600 feet. Majority is on forest trails with some mountain roads.”

They are raising money for the Live it! Love it! Foundation, which “provides outdoor recreation opportunities for the disabled.” They are passionate about this cause, as passionate as they are about running. For two guys training to run 100 miles, there’s got to be a lot of it.

I watched their video recap (click on the image above to see it) about what they’ve done and was inspired. They really are going to do it.  They have trained and planned and suffered and dedicated themselves to a task. They are having fun, but I can only imagine that getting up at 2 a.m. to practice running six hours in the dark with a headlamp is not the easiest. Nor, probably, are ice baths, blisters, injuries, mental sufferings, logistics and fatigue. Think of your longest run and multiply all of it by 10, every time you go run.

Today, as Project Talaria gets closer to their goal date, I am inspired. Like watching Olympians on TV -athletes most of us have likely never met- we feel a connection. We want to support them in what they are doing, because they have inspired us to believe in them.

They are doing more than we thought possible of ourselves, because they are showing us that more is possible. Able-bodied or not, adventure and outdoor recreation can be part of what we do, and who we are. I wish Matt and Dave all the best. Your Olympics await.

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10 thoughts on “Lift your sole: Project Talaria

  1. Very, very cool. Leadville might be the highest point in the U.S.? And if not, pretty darn close. Good for them. Thinking about it now, I realize that we all suffer in different ways at different times; and it is interesting that some of us are channeling all our effort into a purpose and suffering for that, while others suffer for really…well..no purpose at all, except to try and escape the suffering that happens anyway! This is inspiring and hits closer to home for me than the Olympics do. Thanks!

  2. Wow, thanks so much Tania! Alex just showed me your blog. Awesome stuff in here. You flatter us with all the kind words. We’re just a couple guys who really like running 😉 We’re motivated and inspired by the work of Live it! Love it! all the time, we wanted to try and pay it back in our own small way.

  3. Reblogged this on I'll drink to that and commented:
    Last weekend was fantastic; I got to hang out with some running friends and did a trail race with irunibreathe. What a blast – straight up the face of a local ski mountain and then wound back down like a mountain goat on a narrow switchback. You can check out her rrace recap here. Also, if any of you are looking for a great cause to support, check out this post. We raced (IE started and finished at the same place…only) with the guys who are behind Project Talaria. They run to raise money for the Live it! Love it! Foundation which provides access to outdoor sports for people with spinal cord injuries. They are as passionate about running as they are about this cause…and are a couple of great guys to boot.

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