April 22, 2024
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Duy Nguyen instructed his story to producer Stepfanie Aguiliar for an episode of The Day by day Rally podcast. It has been edited for size and readability.

I knew it was gonna be arduous, however I didn’t anticipate, actually, how, how weak-minded I may turn into. Actually wanting all of it to be over like, I don’t care what number of miles are left, I wanna go house. And I assumed I may beat that mindset, and I used to be higher than that mindset.

I’m in Los Angeles, California. I used to be born in Vietnam, got here to America once I was one years previous, and lived on the East Coast, Virginia, for about 18 years.

Professionally I run a few companies. I’ve a restaurant out in LA. I’m a neighborhood organizer, host a few completely different occasion, I’ve a run membership.

I went on a visit to Haiti to movie this documentary about common individuals operating throughout the nation for this nonprofit. I noticed what operating may do.

It was 200 miles over seven days, and these individuals weren’t skilled athletes.You’d see these individuals operating down the road in your neighborhood. And so once I shot this, I form of realized, Hey, this operating factor is fairly cool.

These are all strangers, they determined to run throughout this nation. The bond that they constructed, the relationships that had been fashioned, it was such an unimaginable factor to see. I got here again to LA and instructed my pal Mike, “Hey, we gotta do a run membership. We gotta get individuals operating.”

My pal and I began Koreatown Run Membership possibly eight years in the past. We weren’t runners, and we form of simply obtained pulled into the operating world. Assembly all these individuals, and desirous to do one thing completely different and new, we’d by no means thought it’d develop and alter our lives to the way it has in the present day.

This run throughout Haiti is form of what began my operating journey and beginning the run membership. I’d return yearly after they would do the run. The primary 12 months, I introduced a pal from the run membership, and so they completed it, and I filmed them. I documented the entire journey.
The following 12 months, I used to be like, You already know what? I obtained three marathons beneath my belt. I form of know what I’m doing. I’m simply gonna run it. I’m simply gonna join. And I signed as much as run the 200 miles. And actually, I assumed I knew what I used to be getting myself into.

So March or April 2018 was once I ran. It’s a multi-day factor. If you’re operating 200 miles throughout Haiti, you gotta run a marathon, after which the following day you gotta run one other marathon. It’s very hectic on the physique, clearly. Ultras are completely different than marathons for positive. It’s a unique mindset you go into to complete it.

So the 12 months I ran it, I actually knew lots of people there, however actually, I used to be alone quite a lot of the time, as a result of the group spreads out if you’re operating 30 to 40 miles per day. Me being on the slower finish, I used to be coming in fairly late.

The primary day, a 32-mile day, I did it. Clearly it was arduous. However I did it, after which I had six days left. The second day was solely 13 miles, nevertheless it was over a literal mountain.

All through the day, I simply obtained slower and slower and increasingly drained, as you’d, and my thoughts was simply entering into a very darkish place like, Man, I’m protecting everybody behind, I’m slowing all the pieces down. There was a truck following me, ensuring I used to be OK at that time. That truck had different issues to do, however as an alternative it was simply pacing me on the finish, and I simply felt actually unhealthy. I used to be strolling, and I may stroll high-quality. I wasn’t injured or something, however my coronary heart simply wasn’t in it. My lungs simply weren’t in it. I used to be actually desirous to cease at that time.

I used to be simply strolling and so they had been strolling with me and so they had been speaking with me. “How are you doing?” And I simply didn’t wanna discuss in any respect. I simply wished to inform them, “Simply depart me, I’ll end and I’ll see you there.” However they didn’t, and so they in all probability shouldn’t as a result of, you realize, safety-wise, you don’t know what can occur on the market.

Then it simply obtained to a degree the place I used to be like, You already know what, I’m gonna name it. I’m protecting everybody up. I don’t wanna be the man that principally walked this entire factor.

So I referred to as it, I used to be like, “It’s OK, I’m gonna get within the truck.” They usually’re like,”OK no drawback.”

I obtained within the truck, I drove possibly half a mile up the route, and I used to be on the high of the mountain at that time. From then on it was possibly two miles, all downhill.

That’s once I form of felt it. I used to be like, Man, I may have simply walked for one more ten minutes and I’d’ve been on the high of this mountain, and I may have simply coasted down. However the second I obtained into the truck was the second I took that DNF, which stands for didn’t end.

I knew even when I ran each different day of this race, I’d nonetheless have that asterisk of not operating these three final miles, of moving into the truck and going again house.

And so the following day I felt actually unhealthy. Everybody was sympathetic and all the pieces. They knew the place I used to be coming from. They knew I wasn’t a “actual” extremely marathoner, or runner. And, I did too, however I actually wished to have the ability to say, “Hey, I ran throughout Haiti, the race that obtained me into operating.”

Regardless that I didn’t end that second day, there have been 5, six days left.

It’s loopy as a result of if you’re operating a marathon otherwise you’re doing one thing actually arduous and then you definitely come as much as the cheer zone the place all your pals are and so they’re cheering for you, you simply get this increase of vitality that I can’t clarify. You simply run arduous. You simply get all this vitality from seemingly nowhere. For a quick second, all the pieces’s good. All the pieces’s cool. You’re not in ache.

When that third day got here and there was like no actual stress, I used to be like, Nicely, nobody’s me. Nobody actually is anticipating something from me. I’m simply gonna have enjoyable. And I went on the market and I simply ran. I didn’t actually take into consideration ending it. It’s like, Hey, if I don’t end, I already didn’t end.

So I simply ran with no stress, simply enjoyable, all smiles. Ran with completely different teams. And I felt actually good. I felt actually, actually good.

The ultimate day was 52 miles. I had run the entire thing with my pal Iggy. I do know he had suffered from an ankle damage, so we’d in all probability be going the identical tempo. And we ran the entire thing collectively and we actually pushed that final two miles.

Me and my pal had been simply operating from pole to pole. There’s a little bit gentle pole, you run there. Then, “Let’s go to that different gentle pole. Let’s go to that different gentle pole.” And it’s only a straight shot, and there’s nothing actually round. You’re simply operating from one gentle pole to the following endlessly.

And I simply keep in mind, Oh my goodness, it’s about to be over. We’re lastly going to cease operating and we don’t should run once more the following day. And we ran all the best way to the seaside, and he ran actually all the best way to the seaside and obtained into the water. As soon as I handed that end line, I simply sat down and watched him get within the water and I used to be like, I’m accomplished transferring. Subsequent time I’m transferring, I’m going again within the automotive, going to the restaurant. However I simply wished to sit down down, and that’s what I did. I sat down and mirrored over the previous couple days, and I used to be happy with myself, as a result of I continued on and I did run 160-some miles. And for me at the moment, that was a giant factor. So I used to be happy with myself for having the ability to end that, particularly that final day. As a result of the final day was actually, actually powerful.

I knew I wished to enroll in it once more whereas I used to be nonetheless there. I used to be in all probability the primary particular person to enroll, and I got here house and I used to be like, Yeah, I ran most of it. I didn’t do all of it. However I knew that it was only a private factor. Nobody considered me any in a different way. They weren’t like, “He stated he was gonna do one factor and he solely, he didn’t.” It wasn’t something like that.

I noticed myself how others noticed me. It wasn’t a failure. It was like a studying expertise. After all, one factor I actually discovered from that have was to actually take a step again exterior of what’s happening, exterior of how you are feeling, exterior of what you’re even considering. Assume extra clearly about all the pieces that’s occurring round you. I really feel like if I had accomplished that, I’d not have dropped out. I’d not have gotten on that truck. I’d’ve stated, I’m half a mile from the height and I can cruise down, and end and proceed on to the following day.

However I wasn’t considering clearly. I feel I used to be simply too within the second. Everybody says to dwell within the second, however typically it’s a must to take a step again and pause and possibly simply cease operating and stroll and actually take into consideration what’s happening earlier than you make any choices like that.

Don’t put an excessive amount of stress on your self. And simply carry ahead.

Duy Nguyen is a inventive entrepreneur and community-builder primarily based in Los Angeles, the place he co-founded the Koreatown Run Membership. He’s nonetheless hoping to return to Haiti to finish the run once more, this time formally. For extra details about his work, take a look at koreatownrunclub.com.

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