Crazy Legs

Gonna Need a Big­ger Bucket

Canadian Running - - CONTENTS - By Michal Kapral

At home, my wife and I write lists for ev­ery­thing. Go­ing camp­ing? List. Get­ting the kids ready to go back to school? List. Gro­cery shop­ping? List. They work. Lists help get things done. Th­ese lists also fill me with dread. In­vari­ably, they in­volve per­form­ing a se­ries of chores and other drudgery.

I have an­other kind of list. It’s full of dreams, fun, ful­fil­ment, magic and voy­ages to ex­otic lands. It’s my run­ning bucket list, and it’s all in my head. But that doesn’t make it any less real. It started with just one item: to fin­ish a marathon. Once that was done, I planned to tick that item off my men­tal bucket list and re­turn to do­ing some ca­sual runs around my neigh­bour­hood to stay in shape.

But the first marathon in Toronto sent my mind scrib­bling madly, adding new men­tal bul­let points. First, the Bos­ton Marathon, and then, of course, New York City. From there, I started adding other race dis­tances to the list. I checked off a 5k, four miles, 8k, five miles, 10k, 15k, 10 miles, 20k, half-marathon, 30k, and a bunch more marathons.

I greed­ily upped the tally on the list. I wanted to set some Guin­ness World Records, to run a marathon push­ing my daugh­ter in a stroller and to run a marathon while jug­gling. Check, check and check.

But each time I crossed an ex­pe­ri­ence off my list, more items jumped into my head.

I took up ul­tra­run­ning and ran the Cana­dian 100k Cham­pi­onships, but had to stop at 50k due to an Achilles in­jury, so that box re­mains unchecked. Dur­ing that run, I met a guy who con­vinced me that a 24-hour track race would be a good idea, so I added that one to the list.

Dur­ing a heat wave a few years ago, I went out for a run imag­in­ing I was in Bad­wa­ter, the 135-miler in Death Val­ley, Calif., the hottest place on Earth. That’s now on the list. When I ran a three-day stage race, I fig­ured I had to add the six-day Marathon des Sables in Morocco to the list.

I started run­ning masters track 800m races, and fig­ured I should do ev­ery track dis­tance and event from the 60m to the 10,000m, and throw some steeple­chase, hur­dles and high jump in there, too.

Nat­u­rally, I need to do the Cabot Trail Re­lay, and all the Ab­bott Marathon Ma­jors, prefer­ably all in the same year. Oh, and run a marathon on ev­ery con­ti­nent, and in ev­ery prov­ince and ter­ri­tory. Hey, maybe all the U.S. states, too. A cross-Canada run? Why not. A 50-mile and 100-mile trail race, and then West­ern States in Squaw Val­ley, Calif., the hurt 100 in Hawaii and the Ul­tra-Trail du Mon­tBlanc – added.

Run­ners talk a lot about set­ting goals, reach­ing them, and re-es­tab­lish­ing new goals. It makes run­ning sound like a job, but it’s just the op­po­site. The run­ning ex­pe­ri­ences we seek free us from the mun­dane parts of nor­mal life.

But even with my overf low­ing bucket list keep­ing my dreams alive, most of the best run­ning mo­ments were those that hap­pened un­ex­pect­edly. One day, dur­ing a train­ing run for the stroller-push­ing marathon record, I taught my daugh­ter how to say the word “birdie,” and then lis­tened to her point out all the birdies along the route. Heart burst­ing with parental joy dur­ing a run? Check. Michal Kapral has set mul­ti­ple run­ning-re­lated world records – the stranger, the bet­ter.

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