“Better an oops than a what if.”
It’s ultra season. The most wonderful time of the year.
Now is the time when I have to participate in all of the races that I budgeted for in the spring and promised to train for the summer… but didn’t. Now is the time in which I remember why I told myself that I would lose 30 pounds in June but gained another 15 by August. Now is the time when the events become really tough while life becomes really good. Now is the time to break myself so that I might appreciate the times in which I am whole.
I love the smell of all of this.
I love the feel of all of this.
I love the doubt, the insecurity, the anxiety, and the discomfort.
I love the camaraderie.
I love the compassion.
I love the level playing field and the implication that everyone’s race is their own.
I love the stories, the relationships, and the struggles that you find on the trails.
I love the affirmations that I need and accept from a total stranger, who I have known for 3 minutes, when I say, “We are going to make it, right?” And I love the glazed look of exhausted fatigue, dabbed with a hint of confidence and a touch of pride, when they respond with, “Absolutely. We are going to be just fine.”
Many people don’t need a trail to experience what it’s like to break so that they might experience becoming whole. Most people know exhaustion, isolation and despair simply because life has placed it in their inbox, unwillingly. A lot of us have slogged through divorce, depression, bankruptcy, addiction, or the loss of a loved one and don’t need to pay for a long run so that they know what it feels like to hurt. The beautiful thing about the trail community is that many of us are here for exactly that reason: pain, and discomfort. Here we are going in search of adversity- actually purchasing a ticket on the roller coaster called suffering- so that we might experience, again, what it feels like on the other side. We don’t dodge it, we go in search of it, pay for it, go find it, so that we can go through it.
So, to clarify, for anyone who is hesitant about signing up for a race. Trail running is a culture of people in search of an experience and who want nothing more than for you to achieve your own unique experience. This experience does not take into consideration how fat you look in running pants or how slow you run or what your love handles look like when they flop around or what sports you played in high school or how much you can bench press. The trail running experience is basically a very long meditation with a lot of sweat, heavy breathing, F-bombs….and candy.
So to answer the questions:
“Are you just running away from something?”
“Aren’t there safer ways to have an experience?”
“Aren’t you trading one addiction for the other?”
“Aren’t there healthier ways to cope?”
“Aren’t you just chasing something?”
“Can anyone do this?”
The answer is:
I hope to see you on the trail.
Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,