I'm About to Run 26.2 Miles in a Straitjacket (Pre-Race)
Each of my legs felt like they weighed 100lbs. Pain shot through the front of my left knee while simultaneously working its way up my right hamstring. My hips and toes ached and the pain fired a series of painful synapsis at my brain like a machine gun. “You’re not a runner. You’re an IDIOT,” yelled a voice from somewhere in my head. My cerebral cortex (the part of the brain that registers pain) was screaming at me to stop, but I knew there was only on more mile between me and the completion of my first ever 20-mile run. So, in an effort to drown out the pain and the negative voices in my head, I kept repeating the simple phrase, “the mind is weaker than the body. The mind is weaker than the body. The mind is weaker than the body.” 5,280 feet later, I had completed my goal of running 20-miles, but that was just a training session. The real test comes this Saturday, November 9th, 2019 when I’ll be doing all of that again while plus another 6.2 miles at the CNO Indianapolis Monumental Marathon while also restrained in a straitjacket. That’s right, I’m going to run a marathon (26.2 miles) in a straitjacket and attempt to escape it just before crossing the finish line.
I realize how crazy this sounds and I’ve already had a number of people shake their heads at me. But I think it is a pretty realistic metaphor for the journey we’re all on as humans. We all run the race of life, and we all have to overcome obstacles, challenges, and issues of all kinds (i.e. our straitjackets of life). And the decision we all have to make is whether or not we’re going to let our straitjackets kick us to the curb or whether we’re going to keep moving forward by taking the next step. My plan, both in the upcoming marathon and in life, is to take the next step.
This blog post and the race are both part of a project I started a year ago that is simply known as Courage Over Fear. And I think those three words a good way to describe the decision I have to make this Saturday as there’s a number of things that scare the sh*t out of me leading up to this race.
For instance, I don’t consider myself a runner. Sure, I played four years of college baseball, during which I developed a deep understanding that the mind is weaker than the body through circuit workouts and other endurance tests. But pitching a baseball, in which you’re generating lots of energy over several 1-2 second periods, and running long distances, in which you’re sustaining a constant energy level for a long period of time are two drastically different things. And despite the fact that I have run 20 miles, I know that doing it in a straitjacket and going an additional six miles will present even more challenges. Since I will not be able to use my hands due to the straitjacket, I’ll have to rely on other people to help me drink water, refuel, and anything else I need. This worries me a little bit. What if I get a small rock in my shoe that causes discomfort? What if my shoe comes untied? What if I get dehydrated? Even worse, what if I have to use the restroom?
Originally, my plan was to have a friend run with me to help me with any of these things should they come up, but through a series of events, that friend dropped out of the race and now I’ll be running by myself. Admittedly, I’ve had some pretty crazy ideas in the past. One summer I locked myself in a pair of vintage Houdini handcuffs, tied a 25lbs weight to the middle of cuffs, and jumped off a high dive into a 12’ deep pool to practice an underwater escape—the pressure at that level is unreal—but I had a friend who was an Olympic caliber swimmer with me to make sure I didn’t drown. Another year, I performed a danger act commonly known as smash and stab, in which I attempted to find which of three paper bags held a wood block with a vertical spike by smashing the bags chosen by spectators while hoping to avoid impaling my hand on the spike. The first time I ever performed this I asked a friend to watch from back stage and run out and stop me if I was about to smash the wrong bag. I couldn’t afford to get injured at the time because I’d likely lose my baseball scholarship. And earlier this year I ran a half-marathon without training and my dad followed me on his bike to make sure I was alright. The point is, in the midst of all of these ideas, I’ve always had someone with me to make sure I’m okay, but this time I won’t—I’ll be by myself out there.
This is just one of the things that worries me. There are several other things that also stress me out--like the weather. The race is in Indianapolis in November, a time in which snow is not uncommon whatsoever. I’ve heard the temperature at the beginning of the race will likely be in the 20’s, which is colder than any temperature I’ve previously trained in.
Another thing that sort of bothers me is that sometimes I wonder if maybe I’m the only one who cares about this. At least, it’s hard not to think that when I post something about the race or something else to do with Courage Over Fear and it doesn’t get the type of response that I’m hoping for. Sometimes I wonder if maybe I’m just crazy. Maybe I’m not communicating my message clearly enough for people to care. And ultimately, maybe it just goes back to the constant fear in the back of my mind that is based on never being good enough. Will I ever be enough? Likewise, I question my own motives. Is this just an attempt to get attention? Is this just an attempt to impress former classmates and older friends that I wished would look back and think, “man Steve really is a cool guy.” I don’t know if I can ever really answer these questions for sure, but I do know one thing, if this project helps at least one person then it’s all worth it to me.
As I look back on times in my life in which I heard an idea or saw a video that inspired me to overcome a certain obstacle in my life I can’t help but wonder, “what if I was the only person in the world that this idea or video helped? And what if me seeing it and being inspired to take action allows other people to overcome their obstacles because of my example? Would this video be meaningless if I’m the only one who got something positive from it?” Absolutely not.
In all honesty, my mind is racing (no pun intended) leading up to this weekend and the negative voice in my head is trying to come up with every reason it can to keep me from going through with this. I know it will be difficult and that I will have to put myself through serious pain, but the potential opportunity to encourage others is to great for me to listen to the negative voice in my head. I’m it will take a toll on my body, but like I mentioned above, if that means changing the world for at least one person, then I’m willing to do it. This is my official declaration to take the next step, put my fears aside and demonstrate courage so that others might be inspired to take the next step as well.
About the Author: Steve Cabe is a writer, magician, and speaker with a diverse background
in performance art, live events, motivational speaking, and media. In 2019, Cabe founded Courage Over Fear as a way to help others move past fear and take the next step towards courage. As a former collegiate ballplayer, Steve has a very competitive spirit and strives for excellence in everything he does. Similarly, in his free time he enjoys watching baseball, reading, and finding new ways to test his endurance.