One last thought: I've been thinking about running the race in standard Army-issue gear. Almost anyone will tell you to get these trail shoes, that bag, those special tools, etc. But our men and women in uniform complete the mission with the tools they are given -- perhaps I could carry that message home running with an Army ruck, eating MRE's, using the Army sleep system, and so on. Any thoughts? Please leave me some feedback in the comments, and thank you for your support on this adventure.
Ranger School has the same mental barrier: "will I be able to go that long without sleep? without food? on my feet?" The fear of the obstacles prevents the servicemember from taking the first step, and they never get a chance to face this challenge-of-challenges.
The Grand-to-Grand Ultra is, by far, the biggest and longest race I've ever attempted. I can't promise I'll finish in record time, or even finish at all. I can't assure anyone that I know what every stage will bring, or begin to explain how I'll overcome every difficulty I'm sure to encounter. I do know, however, that my fellow veterans have overcome far greater challenges: recovering from physical or emotional injury, returning to civilian life after decades in the military, or taking risks to make their lives better even if they don't have the final plan worked out.
GallantFew recognizes that no one can predict every single step on the road to transition, but stands ready to provide guidance, offer support, and inspire confidence that every challenge is surmountable by those with the will to struggle. I will keep in mind those who have achieved much greater things than I can ever hope as I "put one foot in front of the other" this September.
Thanks to all for your support and encouragement.
Fight Harder couldn't happen without the generosity and ongoing support of our sponsors, who provide funds and in-kind donations to support our run, benefit GallantFew, and ensure that our transitioning veterans receive the assistance they deserve!
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About seven and a half miles this morning with a bit of mud, an amazing Texas sky, and a few other runners to keep me motivated. As I was catching my stride, I found myself thinking about a local Gold Star Families Memorial I am helping to get built here in north Texas. My role is very small, but it keeps my energies up to know we care not just about the men and women who sacrificed for our country, but also for their families and for the things, large and small, they have given up. 170 miles is a long way to run, and we're supposed to pack very light, but I know I can find room in the ruck for a few symbolic items from Gold Star Families.
If you know someone who has an item they would like me to carry in the race, please have them reach out to me. And thanks, as always, to my friends, family, and sponsors supporting me in this effort.