I like to think that character is revealed during the trials of life, and I have certainly known my fair share of them. In endurance sports, like some strange form of voluntary waterboarding, we practically immerse ourselves in trials regularly.
When you've fallen far and you claw your way back out,
you learn to persevere through struggle,
to become fierce through grit.
Nobody can give you those experiences,
nobody can make those sacrifices on your behalf,
nobody's going to make those tough decisions for you.
You make them from the depths of willpower, and out of necessity.
After getting out of high school having watched that whole thing unfold for the past six years, then moving on to collegiate running and in turn graduating from college—during which time the Eco Challenge ended as Mark Burnett moved on to create Survivor—I thought, “Oh, it’s never going to happen again.” So throughout my adventure racing career after college, I had given up hope that the Eco Challenge would ever be a possibility for me. When I heard it was announced last year that there would be an Eco Challenge—the very thing I had yearned for in my youth—I dropped everything. The race a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and you just cannot pass those up. Ever. Period.
I missed the sun. I missed watching it rise and fall over the lake. I missed the rainbows of colors it pours over the sky—a heavenly canvas mirrored by the surface upon which I flew decorated with a million million sparkles as the water’s ripples become the ticker tape of my passing. I missed the calmness of a clear night—the silky, moonlit quiet of the water. So calm that you feel like the lake is whispering to you to be still for just a moment with her, so quiet that you can marvel at the sound of your own heartbeat carrying over her serene waters. I missed the lake day celebrations, the children swimming under the watchful eyes of their parents, the smell of grilling, and the sounds of splashing. The sun did eventually come out, and I finally dried out...mostly…
It may be shocking, but when I set out to do The Lanier Lap, I would not consider myself a paddler. My primary strength in adventurer racing has always been that I seem to do fairly well at everything BUT the paddling portions, and for the latter I just do what I can to get through it quickly. In fact, in planning The ‘Toona Run, I realized that it would be seven times longer than I had ever paddled continuously by myself. Which is kind of nuts in an of itself. Separately, there was an issue with training. Looking at it in the beginning of the year and as a potential project for the year, I was already behind on training…
“Epic is excited to be part of the Lanier Lap. As a brand, we are focused on performance and efficiency, and Joshua's lofty goal of a 4-day, 400-mile circumnavigation of Lake Lanier seemed a perfect fit,” said Epic Kayak’s Bruce Poacher. For my training leading up to it—including The ‘Toona Run—I will be paddling the Epic V10 Surfski with an Epic Full Carbon construction ProGrip Series Wing paddle above. Check out the jaw-dropping vessel…