I could hear the cadence quickly approaching from behind and it was much quicker than my own rhythm. I was fading fast after running the 28 miles and 4,000ft. up from Hilo to Volcano. After running the 50k four years ago I swore I would never make the run along the highway again. This year I found myself at the start living on the edge of mystery. I felt I had something to prove to myself physically and mentally. I just wanted to see if I could complete the run and feel good. It has been seven months since I injured my head and I have been experiencing lingering effects, especially when running. It has been a long but patient road recovering. The lightheadedness, headaches, and metallic taste in my mouth are finally fading away and I have my taste and smell back! Through it all I have maintained a sense of humor, even while slogging through four mile runs while having to walk. I realized how much I took for granted, running injury free the past seven years. Over the months I have taken it easy, gradually increasing the mileage while listening to my body. Some nights I could not even start running until 10pm because the demands of teaching high school have been so great. Those surreal full moon runs along the coast into the mist of crashing waves while being completely exhausted have been the most fulfilling. Realizing that it’s all a dream, all we have is the moment.
With all of that I had no expectations going into Saturday's run, just the mystery. At the start, the familiar manic excitement was there and I was off running hard into the unknown and not thinking twice about it. The miles were melting away and my only hold up was freaking out as the sun was rising by shouting Journey lyrics which caused me to become out of breath. I quickly settled into the rhythm, up and up towards Volcano. Around mile 20 I was starting to deteriorate. Then I saw the beautiful smile of Amy who was there to give me water and support. Seeing her lifted my spirits and I am so thankful she was there. Mile 28 was when the wheels completely fell off and my hamstring locked up reducing me to a lightheaded hobble. Dave Carlson and his quick cadence pulled ahead. As I hobbled along, I still held on to a glimmer of faith.
“Faith is an act of freedom, of independence of our own limited faculties, whether of reason or sense-perception. It is an act of ecstasy, of rising above our own wisdom.”
This was the moment I was wondering about and it was about far more than the desire to win or compete. I have been wondering if I could break free from my own self-limiting thoughts about competition. In the past I would have just let up and walked it in saying screw it who cares. The competitive side of running is just a distraction from the true joy and something I will never care about. I still enjoy participating in events for other reasons and I try not to let the structures of my mind limit my experience. Sometimes it’s hard to break out of the bullshit of our own reality and reach a greater state of being. I took a deep breath and a flood of past thoughts and moments flashed through my mind in an instant: The inspiring bleakness of night three on a solo vision fast, the exhaustion of paddling miles out into open ocean, the breathlessness of seeing Amy for the first time. I then said out loud, “there is no way in hell I am ending like this with 3 miles to go.” With that I tossed my water bottles and took off as hard as I could not easing up until I crossed the finish line. I felt like I claimed something within and don’t quite know what that something is just yet.