Fail, fail, fail, fail, succeed

Courtney Dauwalter

What are we capable of? The general parameters of what the human body is capable of seems to be fairly obvious – until it isn’t. As an illustration of what I’m talking about, let’s examine one Courtney Dauwalter. What this woman just accomplished would not seem to be physically possible – and yet here you go… On October 15 she finished the Moab 240 mile endurance run in Utah, beating the second place finisher (a man) by more than 10 hours.

She ran 240 miles in 57 hours and 52 minutes. That’s 2 days, 9 hours and 59 minutes – averaging 14.6 minute miles and 97.7 miles per day.

She slept 21 minutes during the race.

WTF?!

I heard her interviewed by Joe Rogan on his podcast and immediately became a Courtney Dauwalter fan. She’s a 32 year old schoolteacher who trains with no coach, doesn’t have a rigid training schedule, and has no daily mileage requisite. She eats no special diet (when asked by Rogan about her diet, she laughed and replied “nachos, candy and beer”). She just runs, and has done so for a long time. She is motivated by a curiosity to discover how far the human body can go. “I’m intrigued by longer distances and timed events to see where your brain goes and what your body is capable of, even when it feels like it’s failing,” she said. “I still have so much to learn; seeing what’s possible is the main drive.”

It’s impossible not to wonder what we are all capable of, if only we had the grit to push through the pain and obstacles that stand in our way. Courtney Dauwalter may be an outlier, but she is an outlier that forces us to challenge our own perceptions of what is possible…