John Pyle: What's it like to run in his shoes?
Thursday, May 10, 2012
John Pyle has officially been running the Patriot Run Across America for 2,500 miles as of this past Tuesday. Now, he says, "it's clear sails from here."
"I'm tired and excited," said Pyle. "And I got my first blister after 2,500 miles."
It may seem as if Pyle's journey has just started, but he is only a week away from the Keys 100 race, in which many NATCA members plan to participate for several miles.
NATCA is supporting Pyle and the Patriot Run Across America as it benefits the Wounded Warrior Project. In celebration of its 25th anniversary, NATCA has a goal of raising $25,000 for our wounded warriors and is asking members to donate what they can. NATCA just surpassed $10,000 today. To donate, please click here.
Pyle said he's looking forward to his final destination, but he wants to make sure he remembers every moment and not lose sight of what he's accomplished once it comes to an end.
"I'm so looking forward to it (the Keys 100 race)," said Pyle. "But this will be over in a minute, and that's how life goes."
On a daily basis, Pyle wakes up at 5 a.m. every morning and before even stepping out of bed, he stretches ever so slightly, careful not to pull anything before getting up. Then, he walks around for as long as he needs, listening to his body and getting prepared for the day.
"It's pretty excruciating," said Pyle. "It's the day in and day out that wears on you."
Ideally, Pyle should consume 10,000 calories a day, but he can only manage 8,000. 30 percent of those calories come from nutritious meals that are good for his muscles, while 70 percent make up for the deficit his running has created. But he said his body craves protein, and while he used to eat a steak every day on the road, he now finds it difficult to eat something he's been running on the road beside every day.
"I've looked in the eyes and faces of cows," said Pyle. "I don't know, they've noticed me and we've exchanged something. So, I'm not eating steak anymore."
And as everybody needs to listen to good tunes to get their body moving and their mind ready, Pyle listens to his Sirius satellite radio everyday while running. He changes the stations according to the environment in which he finds himself.
Other than his first blister, near the beginning of his journey he got shin splints leading him to walk for 10 days, still reaching nearly 30 miles a day.
"My trainer said just keep moving, take one day at a time, that's all you got," said Pyle "Ten days later I was back to running. Although I've had little injuries here and there, my body has recovered miraculously."
Many may assume that Pyle has been running marathons most of his life, but the reality is he ran his first marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 31, 2006.
"A marathon will test you in so many ways that you can't even imagine," said Pyle. "I came out of it [the marathon] different. It's like I had some sort of revelation. And I've been chasing that with a vengeance ever since."
After the Marine Corp Marathon, he continued to run in various races, but it wasn't until one in Sarasota, Fla. in 2008 that he began carrying the American flag while running.
"On the way to the run, I just grabbed the flag from my front porch and ran with it," said Pyle. "It was so moving that I looked forward to having another opportunity to do that. So, I ran the Marine Corps Marathon again with it."
But it was his friend, Paul Welch, that really "planted the seed," telling him he was an inspiration and should think of other ways to continue to inspire others. So here he is, running the Patriot Run Across America, raising funds for the Wounded Warrior Project.
To train for the Patriot Run Across America, he needed to run twice the distance of a marathon on a daily basis. That's when internationally known Sahara Dessert ultra-distance runner, Ray Zahab, stepped in to train Pyle.
Pyle noted that his training with Zahab was very difficult because there was no purpose except to train, he said "when I started training 40 miles a day it was just to do it, but during this trek I at least have a destination to reach." Three weeks before the run, Pyle said he put on a lot of weight. Weighing roughly 180 pounds at the start, he now weighs 150 pounds.
It is clear that this journey has been a difficult, yet fulfilling one for Pyle. And he plans to continue his passion by next year running along the Appalachian Mountains, from Maine to Key West, Fla., with a Canadian and British runner carrying their own countrys' flags. And as a man who has inspired so many, he also carries with him a lot of wisdom and encouragement for others.
"Don't wait for anything, just do it," said Pyle. "Live your life today at the extent you can because you're not guaranteed anything. These leaps of faith are what make us grow. I can't tell you how different I am in just the past two months, in all a year. I've grown more this year than I have in the past 25 years."
Pyle said he really appreciates all of the physical and philanthropic support NATCA has given him, and he looks forward to seeing more of the members within the next week.
If you are interested in joining the NATCA members by running or walking for this cause, please send your name, email, phone and facility to Pam Gonzalez at email@example.com. A Facebook page has been launched for the cause N A T C A running where you can find more information. Please refer to the Florida schedule below to see when the Patriot Run Across America will be in your neck of the woods.
May 11 - Orlando
May 14 - Port St. Lucie
May 15 - West Palm Beach
May16 - Ft. Lauderdale
May 17 - Miami
May 18 - Key Largo
Also, NATCA began airing public radio ads yesterday to show our full support for John Pyle and the Wounded Warrior Project.
The Patriot Run Across America is organized by the Patriot Trust, Inc., a non-profit organization formed in 2011 to aid American servicemen and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is a nonprofit whose mission is to honor and empower wounded warriors. Every year, wounded warriors and caregivers receive support each year through WWP programs and services. Find out more about the Patriot Run Across American at http://www.patriotrunacrossamerica.com/ or the Wounded Warrior Project at http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/.
If you have run or plan to run with Pyle, please contact Hillary Stroud at firstname.lastname@example.org to have your story published in the NATCA Insider and encourage others to participate.