217. An ordinary number without much meaning to most people. 217 has recently become a number that will be the focus of my goals for the remainder of 2019. Not so coincidentally 217 is today’s date. Yeah, I’m that guy that’s focused on numbers wayyyyyy too much.
217 is not the next big race that I’m running, nor the next big one 6 months after that. Those two races are 100-milers, one in Michigan in June and one here in Florida in December. Yes, those two races are going to be two of the biggest running challenges that I have attempted. Yes, those two 100-mile races have both been attempted by yours truly, both in 2017, and both earned me disappointing finishes. I dropped from the Michigan race after 85 miles and 23 hours and from the Florida race after only 52 miles. Those races have literally haunted me ever since. My mind randomly flashes me images of both courses, my struggles and accomplishments, and especially the moment I gave up. Yes, there was that nagging plantar fasciitis and bursitis thing, but I still gave up on myself.
That’s where 217 comes in. The idea behind 217 will force me to train differently and more thoroughly than the way that I’ve trained for 50- and 100-mile races in the past. I don’t like the idea of a DNF, or feeling like I gave up on myself, or questioning my ability based on my results. In order to give myself the best chance to avoid repeating history I found a challenge that will force me to get stronger for longer, get leaner, eat greener, and teach my body to ignore the fact that I’m getting tired because I’m just getting started.
217 is a number that, other than one and 217, only has one set of factors (numbers that you multiply together to end up with 217). No this isn’t a math lesson. Those factors are the exact reason why 217 is such an important number right now. If you multiply 7 X 31, you’ll get 217. Why is 7 significant? Think days in a week. And 31? The American equivalent of 50 kilometers is approximately 31 miles. So, what exactly does all that number stuff mean? It means that I have signed up to run an event that involves 7 days and 31 miles. More specifically, I will be running a 50k on each of seven consecutive days from December 26th through January 1st. 217 miles. 350k. For seven days in a row I will be toeing the start line at 6am and running 31 miles.
217. Not long ago 217 was an ordinary number with no special meaning. Right now, 217 is a number that scares me. 217 is also a number that is motivating me to be the best I’ve ever been. 217 will soon be a number that hangs its head in defeat as I put seven 50k medals around my neck on New Years Day. Medals that I hadn’t earned as of Christmas day just a week earlier. It’ll just take 217 miles.
The event is called Savage Seven and it’s held in Ocala, Florida every year during the same week. They also offer 7×26.2 and 7×13.1 packages, or you can elect to run one or more of the races without doing all seven. You can check out the event here.