It’s one thing to compete in the “Eco-Challenge.” It’s another to do so with Alzheimer’s. This is the true story of the phenomenal father and son duo, Travis and Mark “Mace” Macy.
You may remember Travis Macy from episode 353— or for the longtime listeners, episode 52. Well, this interview is totally different and even more incredible than our prior conversations.
Travis is a professional endurance athlete and coach, and a finisher of over 130 ultra-endurance events in 17 countries.
He is also the author of “The Ultra Mindset: An Endurance Champion’s 8 Core Principles for Success in Business, Sports, and Life.”
Travis is back on the Success Through Failure podcast, this time with his father, Mark “Mace” Macy— who is one of the godfathers of endurance racing.
In this interview, the amazing father and son duo talk about their latest book, “A Mile at a Time: A Father and Son’s Inspiring Alzheimer’s Journey of Love, Adventure, and Hope,” and how Mace has chosen to live through his disease and not just let it be a death sentence. Listen to their story now!
If you don’t have time to listen to the entire episode or if you hear something that you like but don’t have time to write it down, be sure to grab your free copy of the Action Plan from this episode— as well as get access to action plans from EVERY episode— at JimHarshawJr.com/Action.
Download the Action Plan from This Episode Here
[00:00] Travis Macy: We can still go have fun. Even if you're experiencing disorientation or it's hard to buckle your seatbelt or you can't tie your shoes or whatever, who cares? Like, you know, those things are a bummer, but they're not a failure. There's still a lot of success and joy to be found.
[00:17] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Welcome to another episode of Success Through Failure.
[00:21] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: This is your host, Jim Harshaw, Jr. And today I bring you Travis and Mark. You may remember Travis's name from episode 353, or for the longtime listeners way back in episode 52. That was like six and a half years ago. Man, time flies. Well, this interview is totally different and even more incredible than our prior conversations.
[00:44] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: So a little bit of quick background on Travis. He's a professional ultra-endurance athlete. He has finished over 130 ultra-endurance events in 17. Did you get that? Like 130 ultra-endurance events in 17 freaking countries. This guy has been through mountains and across deserts and through the snow of Canada and Alaska.
[01:06] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: I mean, just every environment possible. This guy has tackled it, but his father as well. So Travis himself, he's a speaker and he's an author, and he's a coach of professional endurance athletes, and he is the author of a book titled The Ultra Mindset and Endurance Champions Eight Core Principles for Success In.
[01:22] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Sports in life. Now, this is a really practical read, chock-full of tactics and habits for world-class performance. We cover that back in episode 52. But before I tell you about today's incredible interview, let me tell you really quickly one other thing about Travis. So he said a record for the lead man.
[01:40] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Okay. The Lead man is this. It's an epic endurance event. It's a series of events and it consists of a trail running. A 50-mile mountain bike race, the Leadville 100 Mountain bike race, a 10 K road run, and the Leadville 100 run now. Yeah, that's insane. Here's what's even more insane. All of this takes place above 10,200 feet in the Rocky Mountains
[02:06] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: It's just Epic. And Travis actually set a record. When he won the lead band, when he won that series, the year he won it, so total stud. Here's what else you need to know about today's conversation. Travis's father, mark, who goes by Mace and I call him Mace in the interview here, he's one of the godfathers of endurance racing.
[02:24] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: He started racing back in the 1980s and he pioneered the sport. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's back in 2019, however, It's typically the end of the road for a lot of people. It's not for Mace. You know, not only did he not stop racing, he and Travis, along with two other team members were invited to compete in the Eco-challenge.
[02:44] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Which is dubbed the world's toughest race, the Eco-Challenge. It's an expedition basically against the clock in which international teams of adventure athletes race nonstop 24 hours a day across hundreds of miles of remote backcountry terrain. You can actually watch Mace and Travis if you have Amazon Prime.
[03:03] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Just look up the Eco-Challenge. It's a really highly produced series by Mark Burnett who. Started Survivor and all kinds of other shows is super popular reality TV shows. Mark Burnett was behind those. He's also behind the eco Challenge, which started really when I was a kid. I remember it being on tv, but Amazon bought the right, so anyway, you can check it out there.
[03:23] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: These guys, Travis and Mace, have co-authored a book on their lives that documents not only their fascinating journeys as ultra-endurance athletes, but also documents their recent journey through Alzheimer's and how Mesa's chosen to live. Through Alzheimer's and not just let it be a death sentence. It's a fascinating interview with both Travis and his father who are just, you know, going through battling this tough disease.
[03:45] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Their whole family is really battling it, of course. So their new book is titled, A Mile at A Time, A Father and Son's Inspiring Alzheimer's Journey of Love, adventure, and Hope. By the way, this is an epic adventure book. If you like adventure books. It's epic. If you wanna read a book about Alzheimer's and families going through hard times, like this epic book there too.
[04:07] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: So it is just honestly such a great, great read. So before we get into the interview, don't forget you can listen to success through Failure on your Smart device. Just say Alexa or Siri or, Hey, Google. Played Success Through Failure Podcast with Jim Harshaw, Jr. And you'll hear my voice coming through the speakers.
[04:24] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Also, if you like this episode, take a screenshot and post it on Instagram and Twitter. Tag me and Travis and we'll engage with you over there. So thanks for listening. Let's get into my interview with Travis and Mace. Macy. In the 1980s, mace, you were a pioneer of what has become ultra running and adventure sports.
[04:43] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Tell us about the early days and how it's
[04:45] Travis Macy: different than now. Well, you were doing a lot of stuff, dad. I mean, so my dad and mom moved to. Colorado in 1980, they would've been late twenties and dad was a lawyer at the time. He had grown up playing team sports and once he got to Colorado, he kind of realized, here's all this outdoor stuff.
[05:00] Travis Macy: And he started backcountry skiing and rock climbing, ice climbing. And then 1982 he watched the Ironman on tv and uh, that was. Famous finish with Julie Moss crawling across the finish line. And you know, she inspired a whole lot of people to try out the Iron Man or get in a marathon or something like that.
[05:20] Travis Macy: And dad did a marathon probably that next year and four years later he was at the Iron Man in 1986. And after that it was kind of a quick path to, uh, the Leadville 100 Ultra run in 1988. And then Eco-Challenge and other adventure races, those kind of started happening in the mid 90. You know, dad made it a big part of his life, but like I said, he was working his lawyer, he was, uh, raising kids, you know, pushing hard in a lot of different areas.
[05:47] Travis Macy: And as far as what's changed, what do you think, dad? The probably gear nutrition, those early Leadville 100 s, you guys didn't have headlamps, right? Dad? Remember that you had those little flashlights that you bought like at seven 11 on the way to the. That was a story
[06:01] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: that really stuck out to me in the book.
[06:03] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: I was, he said like on the way to the Leadville 100, you stopped at a seven 11 on the way to pick up a flashlight. Is it safe to say that you probably weren't very well prepared? Well,
[06:13] Mark Macy: you know, it seemed prepared to me as the best I had . It didn't last very long. The guy who was with me, we lost that in about 10 minutes after the first time we tried to use it.
[06:28] Mark Macy: So,
[06:29] Travis Macy: But you were as well prepared as anyone, right? I mean, no one had super bright head lamps or good battery power. Right. .
[06:37] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: So it's safe to say that pretty much everything has changed since then.
[06:41] Mark Macy: Oh yeah. Yeah. Everything is is way better now than it used to be, but you know, in those days, oh, it was just as much fun then as it is now.
[06:52] Mark Macy: You know? It's
[06:54] Travis Macy: just all good stuff. Yeah, and I would say a lot of the best athletes back then, they would be the best athletes now, you know, maybe they'd go a little faster with modern training and fueling and gear, but, uh, you know, the Leadville 100 course record still stands from the mid-nineties.
[07:12] Travis Macy: That's how good people were Then.
[07:14] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Wow. It's the same. The Leadville record is still from the
[07:17] Travis Macy: 1990s. Yeah. For the a hundred-mile run. Yep. Yeah,
[07:21] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: for the run. Wow. Wow. That's incredible. So seven members of your family have finished the Leadville 100, is that right?
[07:30] Mark Macy: Yeah, we get a bunch of them. . That's bonkers.
[07:33] Mark Macy: Yeah. One of my brothers-in-law, he's done more hundreds than anybody. That's Eric Pence. He's my brother-in-law. How many, how many hundreds does he have?
[07:45] Travis Macy: Trav, do you remember? Well, he got his 27th finish at the Leadville 100 last year. He's still going not the record or not yet, you know, who knows? He, he's definitely got more good years in him.
[07:57] Travis Macy: I think the most finishes is maybe 30 or 31, so he doesn't seem to be slowing down and he's still at it. We still have fun out there, hun. Crewing for uncle and uh, his son Ethan, does it almost every year. A lot of friends and families. It's uh, you know, it's been a good time. Eric
[08:13] Mark Macy: was four years old when I met him for the first time.
[08:18] Travis Macy: Yep. That's actually not an exaggeration. Numbers and stuff get kind of hard with the Alzheimer's, but yeah, that's actually the truth. He was just
[08:26] Mark Macy: a kid and I took him down to the, where the race starts and said, okay, here you go. He . And he took off and did his first one.
[08:38] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Mac, you said it was just as much fun then as it is now.
[08:42] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: What about, you know, running 100 miles and doing these absurd races that you guys, both of you guys have done over the years? What about that is enjoyable? Cuz to most people it's just pain and suffering and then you call it fun. I mean, tell me about the mindset of that. What is it that attracted you?
[09:03] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Back then and still. How's you going today? Boy,
[09:06] Travis Macy: you know, it's just,
[09:08] Mark Macy: I've been doing this stuff for so long, you know, and it's regular to me and the guys that I run around with. And it's just what we like to do. And I'm not ever gonna stop until, you know, I can't . That's, hopefully, that'll be a
[09:26] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: long time. For the listeners, just for reference, we were chatting before I hit the record button.
[09:32] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: We were talking about, Hey, how was your weekend? Good, how was your weekend? Well, these guys both just ran a 25 K trail race over the weekend, so Mace is still crushing it and this is not something he plans on slowing down with anytime soon. .
[09:45] Travis Macy: And I think that the note on fun, Jim, all of us choose things in life that have at least some element of fun.
[09:52] Travis Macy: And when I think of the word fun, you know, you think enjoyable. And when you run a lot and you get in good enough shape that you can. Do it so that it doesn't always hurt. Um, it does become fun. You're, you're outside, you're seeing beautiful stuff. You're, hopefully you're enjoying the daily process of preparation.
[10:11] Travis Macy: And for me, that's going on runs and bike rides by myself or with my dogs, or with my friends or with kids, you know, who I can coach or teach. Like a lot of that truly is fun. I would also say there are parts that are not fun. In other words, they're not enjoyable. And if we look at the important things in our lives, I think that's usually true.
[10:35] Travis Macy: Anyone who has a job, you know, hopefully you like some of it, but some of it's not gonna be very fun. Maybe you're married and or you have kids. Well, those things are great and a lot of times it is fun and enjoyable, but some parts of those are challenging and there are moments when it's. Fun and that's okay.
[10:55] Travis Macy: So I think a big reason to do something, whether it's an ultra run or a, you know, an adventure race or obstacle course racing. Dad and I have both done some of that. I know that's kind of been one of your latest pursuits, Jim, a big reason is not. That you wanna have fun every single moment, but it's that you wanna grow and you wanna do something that's gonna make you better in the other areas of your life.
[11:18] Travis Macy: So I think that's a reason that we keep doing, and like I said, there truly is fun and you can be down in the dumps. You just feeling terrible because your legs are bad or your stomach's bad, or you're freezing. And then 30 seconds later you're on top of the world cuz you're looking at some great view or you have this, you know, the incredible sunset or a great interaction with someone out on the trail.
[11:41] Travis Macy: Very often those things go hand in hand. Like if you wanna have, uh, peak experiences, you've gotta take some risk. And that's true whether you're doing a race or whether you're talking about your business or your finances or whatever. You've gotta go bit, if you wanna have those.
[12:00] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Yeah. I love the idea that, you know, if you wanna have peak experiences, you have to take a risk.
[12:05] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: I
[12:05] Mark Macy: was just gonna say, all this stuff is normal to me. I've been doing it for, I don't even know how old I am, . I've been doing it forever and, and it's, it's what I like to do and. Training is important to me. That's what I do every day. I, I get up in the morning and go out and do some training and find out what I'm gonna do the rest of the day to run and stuff.
[12:29] Mark Macy: And that's all I do. And it's, it's the best. It's, I gotta keep at it, you know, if I quit, you know, I got this Alzheimer's thing bugging me, you know, if I think if I quit, I'm really in trouble and I'm not gonna quit. Not anyway, am I gonna quit?
[12:50] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Quick interruption. Hey, if you like what you're hearing, be sure to get the notes, quotes, and links in the action plan from this episode.
[12:57] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Just go to JimHarshawJr.com/action. That's JimHarshawJr.com/action to get your free copy of the action plan. Now back to the show. You've spent a lot of hours training throughout your lifetime. You had a young family and one of your colleagues, adventure racing legend, Marshall Alrich. He wrote in his book that you, Mac did a better job than he did of balancing the needs of your family.
[13:26] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: With racing, like how did you make it all work? The long hours of training the travel said, I struggled to find time just to train for a little Spartan race. How did you keep it all in balance?
[13:36] Travis Macy: Yeah, it's hard to do. You know, I had a
[13:39] Mark Macy: law firm that I was a partner in and there were times when my partners weren't particularly happy with me.
[13:48] Mark Macy: You know, going to some jungle somewhere, don't tell 'em when I'm coming back or anything. But they get used to it and.
[14:00] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Travis, what was that like as a kid with your dad balancing all of this? I mean, he was a great father, is a great father. How did he keep it in balanced from your perspective?
[14:09] Travis Macy: Dad always said a great example of putting his family first and you know, he was serious about his job as a lawyer, but he didn't let it define him.
[14:18] Travis Macy: He was a career as something he wanted to be good at, something that he cared about, but he didn't have his whole ego. Tied up in it. Same thing with his racing. You know, he was into it and it was something that he wanted to do well at and do as much as he could, but he also didn't do every single race.
[14:37] Travis Macy: Especially the longer races, like the eco-challenge. He'd do that, you know, once a year instead of some of the other folks. Maybe they do a number of, of similar events each year. For him it was like, well, you know, leaving my family once a year. A week or two works, but I'm not gonna do more than that.
[14:54] Travis Macy: So I think I just saw that dad always had a nuanced approach and it was very clear that family was at the core, and that's definitely something that rubbed off on me.
[15:04] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Travis, you saw signs of cognitive decline in your dad. You said they had been apparent for a while and you knew that something was wrong, but when you learned of the Alzheimer's diagnosis, you were still shocked and and devastated.
[15:19] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: What was going through your mind when you got the news Travis?
[15:23] Travis Macy: Less shock and surprise and but more, you know, yeah, devastation. I mean, it's like, it's not news anyone wants to hear whether you're the person getting diagnosed or it's your spouse or your parent or your friend. It's really hard news and you know, I went through, A number of months of just a lot of anxiety and kind of this crazy grasping for control that I've realized a lot of it was trying to control things that are uncontrollable and coming to a place of a little bit more acceptance.
[15:57] Travis Macy: That definitely helped me, but it's hard and it still is. You know, we're here, we are, we're in fall of 2022 and almost to the day, I think like four years maybe. Dad's diagnosis. And I would say Alzheimer's has advanced some for sure, but overall, he's, he's still a happy guy. He's active, he's a great grandfather, he's a great dad.
[16:18] Travis Macy: We're, we're doing, uh, things professionally together with podcasting and putting a book out and, uh, you know, yes, there's sadness and loss, but, uh, that doesn't mean there can also be joy and happiness and, and being present and being grateful for what we.
[16:36] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: How about you Mac? Do you remember when you got the news and how did you take that and how do you internalize that?
[16:44] Mark Macy: You know, I don't exactly remember when somebody told me for sure you got Alzheimer's. I don't even remember when that happened. And it doesn't make sense, but I, you know, I just take it and if it happens, then what the heck? You said there's nothing I can do about it. And you know, I gotta tell you, I got a great wife.
[17:06] Mark Macy: My wife Pam is, is a great wife and she takes care of me and she's happy with. With me and I'm happy with her and it's all good stuff, you know? And you just gotta let it go and do the best you can. And it's that
[17:21] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: simple. You began journaling on your experience with Alzheimer's very early on. Why?
[17:30] Travis Macy: Just
[17:30] Mark Macy: cuz I knew that.
[17:32] Mark Macy: Something was gonna happen one of these days and I started, you know, this journaling and stuff and, and I wasn't a very good journaler. I have to say, I can't write at all. , you know, I looked like a two-year-old when I tried to write stuff. So Pam, she took that over and stuff got much
[17:52] Travis Macy: better. Can I share one of those Dad?
[17:55] Travis Macy: Yeah. Yeah, so this is, you know, dad's saying the actual, you know, quote, journaling process. I mean, dad did a ton of writing, obviously as an attorney, and, and a lot of that was dictating over the years and as Alzheimer's came on and it was very hard and then impossible to actually write. By hand. So most of dad's journal entries were dictated to my mom.
[18:16] Travis Macy: And, you know, initially I wouldn't say there was any plan, you know, to put this in a book or anything, but more of like, here's, here's a record and here's something to share with the grandkids. Or just processing things is very helpful for a lot of people. So anyway, now you know, here we. Like I said, four years later, you know, some of this stuff did make it into the book a mile at a time.
[18:38] Travis Macy: And here's the first ones, cuz this kind of goes back to your question, Jim, of dad's initial reaction and here's what he said this was. Yeah, look at that. October 16th, 2018, dad's first journal, here's what he said. And I'm reading this, you know, again, just to be honest, like reading's really hard for dad as well.
[18:55] Travis Macy: He has significant visual spatial impairments and especially small words on a page are, you know, pretty much impossible to read these days. So dad wrote, my name is Mark Macy. I'm 56 years old and today I was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. My doctor, a neurologist, told me to get my affairs in order since Alzheimer's is invariably.
[19:17] Travis Macy: He advised me not to spend time worrying about this diagnosis, to instead take vacations, maybe go on a cruise with my wife, Pam. I told him this is bullshit. My wife just told me I am 64, not 56. Maybe it's not complete bullshit. Five months ago I donated a kidney to a stranger. You have to be in perfect health to be an organ donor.
[19:43] Travis Macy: I'm one of the fittest people around. I run and bike and swim most days and certainly am as fit and healthy as any 56-year-old. My wife just told me again, I'm not 56 years old. I am not making this up. That really just happened. I finished day one of my Alzheimer's diagnosis with a significant decision.
[20:03] Travis Macy: I didn't cause this disease. I'm not embarrassed to be one of the millions of people suffering from it. I'm not going to hide from it, and I'm going to share our story with anyone who wants to listen. Pam, my son Travis, my daughters Caitlin, and Donna and I will dedicate ourselves to fighting this horrible disease that kills people all over the world.
[20:21] Travis Macy: I'm going to share our story with anyone who wants to listen and share in our excitement when I beat this. And again, that's Mark Macy's Journal, October 16th, 2018.
[20:32] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: There's not too many people in the world who would take that mindset into something, especially so early on. So I think what a lesson for all of us, for listeners, for myself, when we face adversity, what are the words we're saying to ourself?
[20:46] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Obviously, you know, for the listener, I'm speaking to you right now, like this wasn't easy for them. You know, it wasn't easy for Mace to hear this news. But he chose, he chose to address this, to face this in a certain way that most people aren't willing to do. Think about your challenge in your life.
[21:07] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Whatever it is, whatever. Maybe it's in your relationship, maybe it's in your health, maybe it's in your business, maybe it's something totally different. What are you willing to say? Like what would Mac say if he was in your shoes right now? Like, how would he handle based on that journal entry that you just heard on day one of the diagnosis?
[21:25] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Of a diagnosis that you know, the people out there who see this every day, the doctor said, you know, get your affairs in order. Deal with it this way. And he said, no, I'm gonna deal with it my own way. And you know, literally two days before recording this interview, this is years after the diagnosis, he ran a freaking 25 K.
[21:42] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Like, are you willing to approach your obstacles, your advers. In the same way. What an inspiration. Thank you for sharing that journal entry, Travis.
[21:52] Travis Macy: Yeah. Uh, that first journal entry of Dads, in addition to helping me try to re-script my own reaction, I think it also shares a couple of tools that have. Been really helpful to us in our journey.
[22:06] Travis Macy: And the first one is humor. Just mixing that in and it's always been part of dad's personality and when you can talk about things even that are really serious at times in a lighthearted and humorous manner, um, it's often a great vehicle for just. Being able to access stuff. And then the other one is helping other people.
[22:24] Travis Macy: Oftentimes when we are in our own struggles and down times, if we can turn that around and help other people, like not only does it help them, but it helps us, and I think that's been a big thing for dad. You know, he's been able to speak to probably thousands of people now with Alzheimer's or people walking this road, and that's been really.
[22:45] Travis Macy: Hopeful, I think to him as well, cuz it keeps him engaged, creates a community. I've really learned the importance of connection throughout this whole thing. So
[22:53] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Travis, your father Mace here, has completed the eco-challenge many times back in the first go round of eco-challenge. I remember as a kid watching the eco-challenge on tv.
[23:06] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: It was so much fun to watch. I always thought it was so cool. Didn't realize it at the time, but I was probably watching your dad and hearing your dad's name and. The Eco Challengee gets bought by Amazon and Mark Burnett, the original producer who also produced what Survivor and, I dunno, a bunch of shows,
[23:25] Travis Macy: right?
[23:26] Travis Macy: A bunch of 'em. The Apprentice, you know? Yeah. He was kind of the sort of one, one of the main early actors in reality tv. Yeah.
[23:34] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Well, he brings this back and you consider doing the eco challenge maybe by. Maybe with your dad. Tell us about that process of even considering doing the world's toughest race with your father, who is Alzheimer.
[23:51] Travis Macy: Yeah, the path wasn't straightforward or I, I think it kinda was for dad. I mean, dad sort of, do you know I'm gonna go do this race and you know, no matter what. You were pretty sure hon, dad, there's no
[24:03] Mark Macy: doubt that I wasn't, I was gonna do it for sure man, when I heard that, you know, maybe eco challenges coming back and Mark Burnett's there.
[24:14] Mark Macy: And you know, Mark Burnett, by that time I knew him very well. You know, I'd known him for years and he's a friend of mine and I thought, man, I'm gonna get in on this. No doubt about it. And
[24:25] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: it was a pretty clear-cut decision for you, Mac and Travis. It was not quite
[24:31] Travis Macy: as clear cut. Maybe not quite as much. I mean, I was equally pumped about it.
[24:35] Travis Macy: And if people are interested, it is still on Amazon Prime. It's called World Stuff Race. Uh, you'll see that a lot on there. Obviously we ended up going, but in those months leading up to it now, I kind of made a shift from being on a, you know, a. Competition oriented team to just kinda realizing like, what I really wanna do is, is share this experience with my dad and furthermore, you know, it'll be a better fit for him to be with me and you know, a couple other relatively younger athletes and probably to not be out there with his other buddies.
[25:08] Travis Macy: You had mentioned Marshall Orrick, Bob High, Adrian Crane. These guys were. Dad's old teammates, they'd raced around the world together and they're still great friends. They're still a huge part of our, you know, kind of our overall team. But everyone on the team was, was over 60 and, uh, you know, maybe throwing Alzheimer's into that mix wouldn't be quite as good of a fit.
[25:27] Travis Macy: So, Anyway, as the race approached, I did have a lot of uncertainty about, you know, what is the risk involved in going, what is the risk involved in not going, kind of not doing something that really, really care about. And really, Jim, I need to thank you personally because you were one of the people who made.
[25:45] Travis Macy: A huge difference for me. I still remember I was walking down the street in front of my house and I can remember it's one of those phone calls. You're like, I know where I was. I was walking down the street and I was telling you about this eco-challenge thing. Okay, Jim, we've gotten into the race, uh, but I'm, I'm feel, you know, I'm feeling nervous about the risk involved.
[26:03] Travis Macy: And Jim, you were very clear just in basically saying like, this is big and this is an opportunity that you're not gonna. Again, and, you know, you didn't say like, you must do this, or, you know, something like that. But like the, the tone came across in a very supportive way and you just helped me realize like, we need to do it.
[26:22] Travis Macy: Like this is really important. So, so thank you. You know, and a couple other friends kind of were able to help in, in similar ways and I basically came to the conclusion of is there risk involved of going out in the jungle in Fiji for a week plus doing, Paddling and mountain biking and tracking and navigating and ropes, maybe limited to no sleep.
[26:44] Travis Macy: Is there a risk in doing all that with Alzheimer's as this unknown fifth teammate? Oh yeah. There's a huge risk. Like we don't know what's gonna happen, but I also realized is there a risk in not going for it? And you know, here's this thing that could be great for dad and I, and it's really important to us.
[27:03] Travis Macy: And you know, it can kind of maybe be a rite of passage in helping us prepare for what's next. Is there a risk in just kind of backing away and not going for that? Absolutely. And that was, as I weighted the scales, that was even a bigger risk of not doing it. So yeah. You know, we said, Hey, let's go for it.
[27:20] Travis Macy: We don't know what's gonna happen. There's a whole lot of uncertainty, but we're gonna do our best. And. Take it as it were just a mile at a time and do what we could. And I
[27:29] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: remember that conversation as well, Travis. I remember sitting in my truck in a parking lot, I remember exactly where I was sitting and just having, cause it was a deep conversation and I remember asking you that question about, you know, sort of what's the risk and not doing it and sort of the long term, like the memories and the, you know, the value of actually doing it and appreciate just being able to be part of that conversation with you and, and helping you think through it.
[27:51] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: And now that you're on the other side of it, thinking like, what an amazing experience. So how does failure play into adventure racing? I mean, there are a lot of races that you don't finish. There are races that you finish and, and do well on, but failure's part of the journey. How does failure in, in your mindset around failure play into adventure racing?
[28:10] Mark Macy: I don't know. I never thought of failure and ation. You know, ation is a blast, and I don't know, maybe things didn't happen the way they should, or we thought we would, but I never thought of it as failure. It's just, eh, shit happens. That's the way I look and I, I'm serious. I, I never thought of, of failure.
[28:37] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Yeah, it happened. So you're, you're ready for it. You know it's going to happen. It happens, but you keep moving forward.
[28:45] Mark Macy: Oh yeah. You know, Marshall and I have been lost in places that you can't even believe exist. You know, we've been lost everywhere. I'm not kidding. We've been in jungles and shit. What are we gonna do?
[29:03] Mark Macy: Oh, we gotta get outta here first is the first thing you gotta do. We gotta get outta here and . And so it's just normal stuff. And it got to be, you know, we, we'd spent a lot of time laughing about things that most people wouldn't laugh about, and. We did .
[29:26] Travis Macy: Yeah, I think that's good stuff. Dad. Uh, yeah. Dad and Marshall have joked for over 20 years now that they would still be lost in the jungle in Borneo at Eco-Challenge in 2000 if, if not for, uh, their teammate and friend a and Crane, you know, who some somehow was able to read the map and get 'em outta, outta those places.
[29:46] Travis Macy: Exactly. That's. Yeah, I mean, I think on regarding failure, Jim, again, if you're gonna go for something big, there is inherently gonna be. Some risk, and therefore you have to be okay with the possibility of not having the outcome that you want. And very often that happens. And when you've tried a bunch and failed to not have the outcome, my experience, you know, my own personal experience, and also through talking with, uh, you know, people who've ended up doing well as athletes or business people or authors, what have you.
[30:26] Travis Macy: Is that they just keep going and like they learn from it. And yes, it does hurt, but you have to be okay with that possibility of a failure. And I would say the other thing, And maybe this is more related to the Alzheimer's journey than adventure racing is, it's helped me to redefine what is success and what is failure , right?
[30:53] Travis Macy: We kinda, you know, typically, especially those of us who are, you know, like we're wired for drive and, you know, go, go, go and achieve, et cetera. We think of success in those terms and I've just kinda realized, you know, again, through this Alzheimer's journey, but also through getting older, and I would like to hope at least a little bit wiser or more nuanced.
[31:16] Travis Macy: It's not quite so black and white and even the line between success and failure. Like, well, okay, something happens. Do we have to call it one thing or the other? There's a very good chance it can be both. And one, one of my mantras, one thing I try to, you know, that dad and I both try to share in this book, Kind of this idea of we're just, we're trying to keep going forward as fast as we can, which you would call a success, but also as slow as we must.
[31:42] Travis Macy: And you could think of that as failure, but you could also think of like, well, we're being realistic and still going forward, and. You know, does that mean it's a failure? I don't know. Not necessarily. I, I also think sometimes people, maybe something bad happens and they're like, oh, all is lost. Like, it's only gonna get worse.
[32:02] Travis Macy: Right. And, you know, I'll share this example. I think dad's okay with it. But like the other day before we did that race, you know, me and dad, mom, were sitting at home, at dad's kitchen table eating some breakfast and. Dad wasn't sure where we were for a few minutes. You know, he was just a little bit disoriented, even at his own house.
[32:21] Travis Macy: And I think some people might think like, oh, well if you're disoriented at home, well you're gonna go out in the woods now. Like, really? But you know, it's kinda like, I know this is safe. Like, we're going out there together. I'm not gonna like run away full speed and you know, leave my dad wandering around in the woods or something.
[32:39] Travis Macy: So, Whatever, we can still go have fun. Even if you're experiencing disorientation or it's hard to buckle your seatbelt or you can't tie your shoes or whatever, who cares? Like, you know, those things are a bummer, but they're not a failure. There's still a lot of success and joy to be found. Where are you guys at
[32:57] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: with this process now?
[32:58] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: How are you handling things? What's the day to day like?
[33:02] Travis Macy: What do you think, dad? How'd your day to day feel?
[33:05] Mark Macy: Well, it was great. I got up and had coffee and after a little bit I got up and ran down the, through the neighborhood and I did a bunch, uh, what do I call '
[33:17] Travis Macy: em? Repeats the intervals Like you were running up and down the hill, you mean?
[33:21] Mark Macy: Yeah, I got a, I got a bunch of hills and I run up and down and then, Just up and down and up and down and up and down, and you look like an idiot. People in the neighborhood think I'm nuts probably, but you know, I'm just running up and down hills. But that's what I do. That's how I keep myself, you know, in good shape and until something else comes along that I just gotta keep on going until it can't go anymore.
[33:49] Travis Macy: Yeah, I'd say overall a, a good place. Uh, and does that mean it's straightforward or, you know, not hard. Absolutely not. I mean, it is hard and there's grief and sadness and loss. You know, like I said, at least early in the process, I kind of, my brain was jumping ahead to future hypothetical goals. You know, whether that's finances or trusts or, you know, care or just all, all of these possibilities.
[34:18] Travis Macy: And is it good to plan ahead and, you know, make sure that the T's are crossed and the i's are dotted? Of course it is. But should we live in that future hypothetical, anxious space? I don't think so. That's another thing that Dad has showing me with Alzheimer's, I mean, When someone has Alzheimer's or other, you know, similar cognitive impairment, it gets harder to remember, what'd you do yesterday?
[34:44] Travis Macy: What's coming up tomorrow? What are you doing this afternoon? Well, where are you? You're here, you're now, and that's a beautiful thing. And that's, you know, the time that dad and I spend together, whether it's sitting here talking with you, Jim, or. Being out there running or, you know, we, we did a, a book signing for a new book a couple weeks ago.
[35:00] Travis Macy: I mean, we're, we're present and we're enjoying it. And that's, that's what we're trying to do. And I would also say it's all about the team and, and really, you know, the team starts with mom and dad and, you know, mom is an incredible person and, and supporter and, and you know, she just does a great job with everything.
[35:16] Travis Macy: And we also. Team of me and my sisters and our families, and a lot of friends in Evergreen. You know, you mentioned Marshall Orrick. I mean the guy's 71 years old and he drives over to my parents' house and puts up a ladder and climbs up and fills the woodpecker holes. , you know, like talk about friendship, right?
[35:34] Travis Macy: Talk about friendship in a team, you know, doing that. And dad can't drive, so Marsh and his other buddies drive over and they pick up dad and. Drive to the trails and you know, they run along. So I, I think, yeah, the team is, you know, keeping things sustainable and where are things going? How fast is it going?
[35:53] Travis Macy: We don't know. That's the uncertainty and we've really had to accept that. And, you know, we are just like many families navigating this path. You, you start. Talking about bigger questions of, you know, is a move a good idea or when would that happen? Or, you know, mom and dad live way up. They live in an awesome house in the mountains, but it's also 20 minutes up a little dirt road or, well, it's not dirt anymore.
[36:15] Travis Macy: They paved it. But , they live up this road and that's hard in the winter time and things on the house are starting to break. So do they stay there forever? Maybe they downsize and, you know, come closer to to Denver. Who knows? Yeah. There's all these, these issues. But you know, I think, again, back to the book title, I mean, it's just a mile at a time and take it as it comes.
[36:37] Mark Macy: We're not coming closer to Denver, I'll tell you that.
[36:41] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Well, we won't settle that on this podcast interview. You guys can, uh, take that offline, so .
[36:46] Travis Macy: That's right. Maybe Virginia, huh? Dad, Jim lives in Virginia. There you go. Come on Now. Dad's a little biased against the city, so .
[36:54] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Yeah, I don't, I don't blame it.
[36:56] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Well, Mac Travis, thank you for writing this book. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for demonstrating what is possible. As opposed to focusing on what's not possible after a diagnosis like Alzheimer's. It's an inspiration for all of us. Everybody listening is dealing with their own things, and you guys are showing us how to face adversity, how to live our lives with the success through failure mindset, and um, just continuing to move forward one mile at a time.
[37:26] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Thank you.
[37:27] Travis Macy: Yeah. Thanks Jim. Really appreciate it. I mean, truly been an honor as always, and I would definitely say like success through failure. You're right on. That could be one of the themes or chapters in this book because I think dad and I generally are, you know, we're optimistic positive people, but we did try to be raw and honest in, in this book.
[37:48] Travis Macy: And, you know, people will see it's, it's not all rose's, uh, by any means. You know, we and are, and we'll be more. Trying times, and we try to share that.
[38:02] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: And for the listener, I recommend you check out the book, whether you're interested in learning about Alzheimer's, whether you want to hear an inspiring story, whether you wanna just read a great book about incredible adventures.
[38:14] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: This book is for everybody. And I mean that really, it truly, it's, it's a book for everybody. There's so, so much to the book. It's such a fun read and you can buy it on Amazon and, uh, on their. Travis, can we go to travis macy.com? Is that a good spot to go as well?
[38:29] Travis Macy: That's one place to find it. And don't forget those indie bookstores.
[38:33] Travis Macy: Talk to your independent book seller. They can order it for you as well, and maybe they already have it. Excellent. Thanks guys. Thanks Jim. Sure. Appreciate it.
[38:42] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Thanks for listening. If you want to apply these principles into your life, let's talk. You can see the limited spaces that are open on my calendar at JimHarshawJr.com/apply where you can sign up for a.
[38:54] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: One time coaching call directly with me and don't forget to grab your action plan. Just go to JimHarshawJr.com/action. And lastly, iTunes tends to suggest podcasts with more ratings and reviews more often. You would totally make my day if you give me a rating in review. Those go a long way in helping me grow the podcast audience.
[39:16] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Just open up your podcast app. If you have an iPhone, do a search for success through. Select it, and then scroll the whole way to the bottom where you can leave the podcast a rating and a review. Now, I hope this isn't just another podcast episode for you. I hope you take action on what you learned here today.
[39:33] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Good luck and thanks for listening.
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