Sunday, October 24, 2010
The excitement is building! I’m getting ready to hop on an aeroplane over the sea and across the country to the Atlantic and Blue Ridge homeland. I can’t wait to feel the crisp Fall air in the mountains and run in the Mountain Masochist. This is by far my favorite race because it sparked my passion for trail running many years ago. It has been nearly three years since I last ran an ultra race, so needless to say I am really looking forward to it! That has been part due to lack of races around and just wanting to put most of my energy into other areas. It’s been an interesting past few months of running. In the beginning of August I finally got off of the week on week off schedule that would not allow me to run for a week at a time. The first thing I did was launch into weeks of 130+ mile weeks with long paddles with hikes in between. I knew something had to give after a run where I found myself crawling under a mango tree scavenging because I was thirsty and depleted, eating half rotten mangoes. Then one morning I fell on my face changing into my running shorts. My big toe somehow snagged a small hole which then ripped my shorts and made me crash down. Feeling dejected and burned out in all areas I knew it was time to take it easy. That led me to reflect upon the past few years of feeling good and remaining injury free. Why was I now feeling like crap just because I signed up for a race? Was it all mental? I found myself in the same position I was in 3 years ago the last time I ran in a long race, always feeling tired and uninspired. I knew I needed something so it was time for some alchemy and I went to mixing: the essence of fall, ancient spirits, misty mornings, starry nights, vast valleys and hidden waterfalls all reignited my desire. I went to my favorite places on the island to plumb the wellsprings of inspiration.
(Twighlight swim in the bay)
(Running through dreams)
I quit keeping track of mileage because it really doesn’t matter to me. The only reason I run is to feel good and enjoy the moment so that’s what I started doing. Then I then decided to run mostly at night and not wake up at 5am only to grumpily suffer through runs. I needed to embrace the darkness and start running inward.The night runs were introspective journeys. I was reminded of a book “The Pilgrimage.” Along the path the character had to eventually face the giant dog which stood for his fears, insecurities, and anxieties. In a way I felt like I was facing a giant evil dog in relation to my running philosophies. I used to not really try in races because I am not a competitive person. Over the past few years I have been able accept giving it my all in something while being completely detached from the result. I was told “It is time to claim your gifts because it is your birthright.” WOW, that statement has had a huge impact on me. Running in the dark is like moving through a worm hole in the mind. Shadows playing tricks, eerie noises, pitch black nothingness. I feel like I have overcome some sort of mental barrier. Three years ago I would have said screw it, just a stupid race and stopped running which is what I usually did. A therapist I worked with used an analogy when directing me how to work with a student. “………just like you wouldn’t train for a race and a few weeks before it say screw it and stop running.” That really put things in perspective for me because that is exactly what I did. Patterns are hard to break; at least I was able to recognize it and rally.
(Midnight paddles guided by the light of the moon)
(Mana Rd. Moonrise)
All of this brought back that certain swing in my stride and calm feeling that has me feeling ready to run like a madman through the mountains. I am looking forward to returning to my roots and running on the trails that sparked my love for running on a fall day seven years ago.