BY MAGGIE BEAMGUARD
When it comes to father and daughter bonding, Jared and Lia Fravel have found physical activity to be their special glue.
For the second year in the row, the pair completed the Goggins Challenge, a 4x4x48 run created by former Navy Seal and ultrarunner David Goggins. Participants commit to running four miles every four hours for 48 hours. The Fravels round up to finish a full fifty miles.
There is no entry fee, but runners are encouraged to raise money for a charity of their choice. Participants typically run the springtime challenge simultaneously with Goggins when he runs it on the West Coast.
This was Jared’s third time to complete the challenge and the second time to do it with his daughter at his side. When he asked Lia if she wanted to join him his second year, he thought she would tell him “absolutely not.” But to his surprise, Lia, a 10th grader at Pinecrest High School, eagerly agreed.
Both natural athletes, the pair enjoy sports as a way to nurture their relationship, connecting through mountain biking, swimming and shooting.
“Most of what I do is because of him,” said Lia, a competitive distance swimmer. “He was really into triathlons, and I think I did my first triathlon when I was four. I came in dead last, but I did it.”
Always seeking the next challenge, Jared’s athletic pursuits took him from powerlifting and bodybuilding to cycling, running and swimming. He eventually competed in Ironman events and most recently trained for a 100-mile ultra trail run.
The Goggins Challenge presents special obstacles for even seasoned runners. “It’s such a hard event, not so much because of the miles you run, but because of the lack of sleep,” said Jared. “So you’re getting up every four hours throughout the night and running four miles.”
But father and daughter differ regarding the more difficult aspects.
“I disagree. It’s the running part that bothers me,” said Lia, who her father quickly acknowledges has youth and fitness on her side.
The pair also had a different approach to training. For Jared, preparing for this event is about training the mind.
“I think it’s about training yourself to be able to run when you’re tired in the middle of the night. So I’ll throw in a really early morning run, like 2 a.m. or 3 a.m.”
Lia took a simpler tack.
“So, I thought about it. I knew I should train,” she said. “And then all of a sudden the race was the next day. So I was like: here we go! We’re doing it.”
She says she runs a mile for school every week but the last time she ran the 4x4x48 was the previous year.
Her dad is impressed with Lia’s accomplishment all the more for her laid-back approach. “Not having those running miles on your legs and going and trying to do an event like this, by day two, I think she was struggling even to stand up. It’s a lot of pounding, and if you’re not used to it it’ll lay you down for a while.”
While she successfully finished all the runs and all the miles, Lia concurs “by the third run it felt like someone hit my knees with hammers.”
Fueled by limitless Oreos and her dad’s encouragement, Lia finished her second 4x4x48.
“He didn’t really need any motivation,” Lia said. “He was just ready to go every time.” His fatherly advice to her?
“Sometimes you’ve gotta do stuff that sucks.”
Running, Jared admits, is not his favorite thing to do. More days than not, he would rather skip it. “But I do it. So that’s a win for the day.”
For Jared, this life lesson leads to growth. “You don’t grow when you’re comfortable, right? You can learn how to deal with hard stuff that comes by pushing through a workout when you don’t want to workout or pushing through a run when you don’t want to run.”
Lia, mostly, agrees.
“I definitely see the value in doing something that sucks every day,” she said, “but I don’t know about every day — maybe every other day. I think there’s a lot to be said about having a day where you get to just lay on the couch and eat chocolate.”
But there was no rest for the weary runners. They ended the challenge at the Seven Lakes Equestrian Center, where Lia put in a workshift.
“Her drill team actually rode out and met us at the gate and road in the last eighth of a mile with us,” said Jared, who was also back at work the next day.
“At the end I want to say it felt great,” he said “You are just so ready to get to the end of the thing that you’re not even looking forward to dinner. You’re so exhausted you kind of want to just go lay down and go to bed.”
So will they do it again next year? Without a doubt.
For their efforts, they have raised over $1,500 this year for St. Jude’s Medical Center, in addition to the $1,000 from the previous challenge. They are still accepting donations at fundraising.stjude.org. A search for Lia Fravel will find their team.
“I’ve always been really impressed with that organization and what they stand for,” Jared said. “It’s for the last thing parents want to worry about when their children are going through something like that is finances. And when they go to Saint Jude they don’t have to worry about that. The hospital takes care of that. So it’s just a super organization. I’ve tried to support it with all the events I’ve done ever since I was in high school.”
Until their next 4x4x48, father and daughter have set other goals for themselves — a 5K open water swim for Lia and that 100-mile trail run for Jared.
“Really it’s just looking for that next challenge to push yourself, ” said Jared. “Just to put yourself out there and see if you can see if you can accomplish your objective.”
Contact Maggie Beamguard at firstname.lastname@example.org.