My jaw is agape at the feat of Becca Pizzi, our neighbor from Belmont. This 35 year old single mom who holds down 2 jobs (because I’m sure she’s not busy enough) managed to not only participate, but was the female winner for all 7 marathons that she completed in 7 days on 7 continents. She was not only the first female to accomplish this superhuman quest, but also set a record for the fastest women’s time ever for completing all seven marathons in 27 hours, 26 minutes and 15 seconds. Oh yes, and she had to raise $36,000 to compete. To learn more about this truly amazing race, go to http://www.worldmarathonchallenge.com/. I’m in awe just reading about it.
When confronted with that type of ambition, I wonder, “What makes these people run?” I heard Becca’s interview on WBUR with Robin Young and was fascinated to hear her nonchalant rationale of why and how in God’s name she does this.
She mentioned a few things that gave me some insight into how she viewed her amazing accomplishment. Here are a few excerpts from the interview:
Adequate sleep: When asked how she managed to have the energy for this marathon of marathons, she replied that she got to ride in business class for all 7 of the 10+ hour flights, so she logged 7 hours of sleep most nights. Mere mortals may think that it’s a victory to get a solid 7 hours just to get through our busy days, never mind consecutive marathons!
Support from family and role modeling: She had the encouragement of her 8 year old daughter, Taylor, with whom she consulted before entering the race. Her daughter’s response, was, “You can do this, mommy!” She stated part of her motivation came from showing her daughter that women can do anything they put their mind to.
Preparation: She is 35 years old, which is the physical prime of our lives. You may notice that many world record holders and endurance race winners reach their best milestones in their early to mid-thirties. She runs between 70-100 miles a week, does yoga for runners and cross-fit classes.
Practice and experience: She started out running at age 6, and continued running all the way through college, working up to 5 marathons a year. She likes challenges, so with 45 marathons under her belt, she thought this would be a logical next step.
Finding her passions: She combined 2 of her favorite pursuits- travel and running, so she was literally enjoying every minute. What about the ice and snow she ran on in Antarctica in contrast to the 75 degree weather in Australia? Once again, in her understated way, she said that she was used to extremes of weather living in New England!
Resilience and belief in self: She suffered only one injury during this incredible week- a groin pull going into her 6th marathon. She took Advil and continued to win that 6th one, along with winning her 7th the next day.
When I encounter people like Becca, I’m always fascinated and want to learn as much as I can from them. How do they do it? Amazing training, motivation, discipline, positive attitude, resilience, and role modeling are some of what it takes to accomplish such a feat. How does this relate to you? When you wonder, “Can I fit in a workout today?” Take a page from Becca’s playbook and tell yourself you can and you WILL !