Dream, Plan, Adapt, Persevere, Finish
Four years ago Luke Tyburski ago was a 28 year old broken down professional soccer player, struggling with injuries, battling clinical depression and feeling lost and hopeless.
After a calf tear that literally broke him he decided to retire from soccer. A few hours later, for reasons he can’t explain, he signed up for the infamous Marathon des Sables, a 155 mile 7 day self supported ultra-marathon through the Sahara desert.
With no prior training, Luke spent the next six months training for his first race as an endurance athlete. While most people would be content to start with a 5k or a half marathon, Luke decided to start with an ultra marathon. As you’ll find out Luke thinks big.
After completing the Marathon des Sables Luke wanted more; a project to fill the void which soccer left. He wanted to create a new fulfilling life!
He stared at a world map, without any predetermined thoughts, with just adventure on his mind and in that moment a route from Morocco to Monaco appeared.
“I could swim, cycle, and run that,” he told himself.
There was just one problem. Well, a few problems actually. Luke didn’t even own a bike and hadn’t swum a lap in a pool since he was in school. But the thought of swimming from Morocco to Spain, cycling the southeast Spanish coastline to France, then running to Monaco was too audacious and exciting to resist. He wanted to do something no one had ever done and this was it.
Luke called it The Ultimate Triathlon and over the next four years he prepared for it and built a business around it. With a degree in Exercise Science and a passion for cooking, he trained other people and athletes to help them achieve their own fitness and life goals, taught people to prepare healthy snacks and meals, and began writing and speaking about the adventure he was undertaking. Luke basically molded his new career and life around everything he loved doing and was happier and more energized than ever.
After countless hours of research, planning and training, Luke began his 1200 mile, 12 day adventure on October 21st. However, as is often the case in life, when a vision and dream intersects with reality, challenges emerge.
For all the planning, Luke couldn’t plan for the misinformation he received (the day before he began) regarding the length of the swim from Morocco to Spain; twice the distance he was previously told. Many people may have gotten angry or upset, but Luke merely saw this as his first obstacle, and switched to swimming the opposite direction, amidst huge shipping tankers, and through energy zapping currents. 15 miles and 5 hours later with an inflamed shoulder tendon Luke reached his destination and immediately boarded a boat back to Spain to begin the cycling part of his journey.
Despite all his training nothing could prevent Luke’s body from shutting down several times as it was being pushed past its absolute limits, causing him to pass out numerous times on the roadside of both Spain and France. Giving up wasn’t an option but rest was. His crew enforced a rest day with Luke barely able to stand without help, let alone spend another day of cycling. After a day to recharge, Luke finished the cycling part of journey in just over five days.
Luke knew the race would require all the energy and grit he could muster but he never expected the hamstring and quadricep in his leg to tear. While running the last part of the ultimate triathlon, hope, optimism and belief gave way to a hot, sharp, stabbing pain in his leg that worsened with each step. He couldn’t even walk let alone run. With 250 miles to Monaco he came up with two options: Walk to Monaco, which at the pace he was staggering, would probably take another three weeks or get back on his bike and cycle, arriving in Monaco 12 days and 1200 miles after he began his adventure.
Luke chose the latter and cycled another 3 ½ excruciating days, using only his right uninjured leg to churn each revolution of the pedals.
When I asked him how he managed to do it he said, “I winced, screamed, and tried to harness the pain to use as fuel to carry on; after all I was living my dream!”
As Luke approached his destination he remembered his goal of running into Monaco, and wasn’t going to let a torn quadricep and hamstring rob him of my achieving it! As he hobbled to the finish line, the extreme pain shooting through his left leg was no match for the euphoric wave of emotions that flooded the rest of his body.
After a painful, euphoric 150-metre stagger he reached the border of Monaco. It wasn’t the way he initially envisioned it, but he achieved his 1200-miles, 12-day journey.
Now, months after his journey, Luke is no longer hopeless and depressed. Now, he’s living the life he created, sharing the lessons that only an ordinary person who pursued an extraordinary dream can share and serving as a beacon for others to do the same.
Luke told me that he learned that bold dreams are filled with great challenges. The Ultimate Triathlon, just like life, is filled with unexpected events and in the face of adversity you must adapt while staying focused on your goal. You must keep your vision alive, be willing to adapt and preserve through all of it. Only by pushing the limits of what has yet to be done and reaching your limits will you catch a glimpse of your true potential.
To have Luke speak to your group you can email him firstname.lastname@example.org and visit his website www.luketyburski.com