Earlier this week, we introduced you to a certain athlete/ Glee Gum enthusiast in the post Go, Mike Stemple, Go!
In just two days, adventure runner Mike Stemple will embark on the Atacama Crossing, a 155-mile footrace across a desert in Chile. But he took a few minutes from his hectic pre-race schedule to answer some of our burning questions about his sport of choice. Check it out!
Q: How did you get started in adventure running?
A: Last summer (2008) I became very sick and my doctors thought I may have MS. While we are still unsure whether I have it or not, it forced me to examine my life a little more closely. During the time I was sick, I read an article in which the author posed the question, “What would you do if you where not afraid?” For me this was a major, life-changing moment. I realized that I was very afraid of many things and these fears had caused me to live a “safe” life. I vowed then and there to never live with fear again and decided to put my body, mind, and spirit through the hardest ordeals I could find so that others could see that a life without fear is possible. Hence I chose the hardest series of running races possible.
Q: What are the challenges involved?
A: There are numerous challenges I face training and competing for these races. The first is the toll it takes on my body. I have lost numerous toenails in training, have to ice my knees and ankles most every night, and am tired alot. Second is the time challenge. I am working on launching 3 new companies and have to squeeze 3-4 hrs a day of training in. Thirdly is getting used to running with the weight of a backpack on. My pack with water weighs 30 lbs.; that is the same as 6 yellow-page phone books.
Q: What are some of the rewards?
A: The rewards of pursing these races are that I have learned that my body, mind and spirt like to lie to me. There are many times I want to stop because I hurt, or the distance seems too far, or the idea of running 155 miles is just unattainable. I think these fears creep up in everyone but I have learned that most fears are not real and that I can do just about anything by ignoring the protective lies I like to tell myself.
Q: [Shameless plug!] Why do you always bring Glee Gum on races?
A: I love Glee Gum. Not only is the story of the natural nature of the product cool, but it is the only gum I like. A trick I learned when running is to chew gum. It keeps your mouth moist and makes you swallow more. This keeps cotton-mouth from developing. Also it helps you from not clenching your jaw muscle and allows your neck to relax a little more.
Golly! Who knew there was so much good chewing gum can do? (Of course, we always suspected it to be true!)