Friday, August 29, 2014

The 5 W's (and one WTH) of Ultrarunning


"We will always ask ourselves the same questions."
Paulo Coelho

In any ultra race it will come.  That juncture in the road when you start to question your sanity.
"Who do I think I am? 
 What the hell was I thinking?
Where am I?  
When will this be over?  
Why am I doing this?   
How will I ever finish?"  
You can't fight it, it's inevitable.  But I find that it does help if you come up with the answers to the W questions (and that one WTH) before you even hit the starting line...... and way before that WTH moment punches you in the gut, knocks you to the ground and calls you a baby.  

Who?  
You.  Only you.  You are the only one who can finish this race.  Not your pacers, not your crew, not your coach or your trainer.  You.  You're the hero in this story.

What? 
You were thinking this was a good idea....you asked to be here, so you're going to train.    Hard.  Almost every day.  You're going to figure out what you need to keep moving whether its nutrition, hydration, slowing down your pace.  You learn the tricks of the trade BEFORE race day so when that moment hits, you're prepared with the ammunition to fight back.

When?
When you feel like it, and when you don't.  On summer days that suck the life out of you, and in the cool splendor of fall.  Wearing 3 layers of clothing or 4 layers of sweat.  When your legs are heavy and tired. When your friends are going to happy hour.  When the stars are out and the rest of the world is sleeping. Whether you feel like nothing could stop you, or you can bearly crawl, you train.  You run.

Why? 
Because its fun.  Because you can.  So you can fight the demons.  So you can prove your worth to yourself. For adventure.  For freedom.  WHATEVER it is, determine your why.  It's the most important answer for you to memorize.  Write it on your hand.   It's the answer that gets you out of the aid stations.

How?  
How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.
Stay in this moment and bring what it gives you.  Remember that it doesn't always get worse.  And when you want to quit....don't.

WTH? 
Will it be easy?  No
Worth it?  Absolutely




Sunday, August 3, 2014

Creating balance

"I can't believe that we would like in our graves 
wondering if we had spent our living days well
I can't believe that we would like in our graves 
wondering what we might have been."
Dave Matthews 

In case you weren't aware....I'm a little competitive.
Sometimes I am my only competition, but I always strive to be better, stronger, faster, more efficient
(insert adjective here).
As a self renounced adrenaline junkie, pushing my limits and getting out of my comfort zone completely turns me on, but it does not bode well for creating balance in my life.

The dishes are piled up in my sink, I haven't washed my hair in two days or called my parents in weeks, yet I've done 4 workouts in the past 48 hours, came in top salesperson at work yesterday and I'm caught up on client schedules and communication.  You know.... priorities.

My friend Mike used to joke that "anything worth doing is worth doing to the extreme right?"   Our addiction to running, work, people,  WHATEVER (insert noun here) is just not healthy. But how do we find balance as athletes/workhorses/approval seekers?

I try to think of it this way.  If I knew I was dying at the end of the week, would those extra miles or the fact that you put in 55 hours at work this week really matter?
And if you knew that was the case, what changes would you make?

For me that means spending more time with family and friends.
Playing outside.
Reading.
Going to bed without setting the alarm.
Eating food that is so amazing you close your eyes to savor each bite.
Snuggling under a cozy blanket and letting him pick the movie.
Good wine and intelligent conversation on the porch.
Happy tears
Writing your stories.
And doing all of this without feeling one ounce of guilt or regret.

Thomas Merton said  "Happiness is not a matter of intensity, but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony."
I don't know about you....but I think I'm leaning a little to far to the left.