Monday, February 17, 2014

Run. Live. Die without regret.

Ultramarathons are like life.  Life has a beginning and and an end and everything in between.  It's what's in-between that counts.  A race has a beginning and an end.  Perhaps the beginning starts months before the race.  Perhaps the beginning starts the day you decide to sign up for a race, or start training for a race.  Or if you're like many ultrarunners, training never stops.  Running becomes a part of life.  Intertwined within this life of running are events that are often described as races.  For many of us, the middle and back of the packers, these are more spiritual experiences that serve to increase our wisdom and maturity by great leaps over what would have happened if we simply remained sedentary, by ourselves, watching tv and waiting for the day to be over.. for our lives to be over.

A local radio station has a little jingle they often play.. "helping you get through your day!".  I don't want to "get through" my day.  Today is not an obstacle, but a blessing.  I wish tomorrow would never come.  I wish today would last forever, so I could enjoy it and cherish it and do everything I could ever possibly want to do with no regret that "I should have done that yesterday".  Without tomorrow, there is no yesterday. There is no regret.  Regret can be okay though, as it helps us grow and make better decisions in the future.

Running allows all of this to drift away.  Running brings our mind and our presence to the forefront of our consciousness and allows us to fully appreciate the awesomeness that is life.  And when you run for hours upon hours, 20-40 hours at a time.. it's truly an amazing and ultimately indescribable experience.  I could try and try to explain the feeling that washes over me when I finish a 100-mile race, but it would be fruitless.

I read a book once.  The book is titled "The Easy Way to Stop Smoking", by Alan Carr.  I smoked for about 3 years.  I read that book on a Saturday in about 5 hours.  I threw out my cigarettes halfway through the book and haven't had a craving since.  I often tell smokers about this book.  I get the same response every time.  "What did it say?", they ask.

And I simply say "I don't know.  Just read it".    It's amazing that people will choose to not spend five hours on what could save them five decades of life.  Perhaps they have yet to possess a passion for life and all that it offers.   You can lead a horse to water, but you can't force it to drink.

Don't wonder about 100 miles.  Don't read endlessly about it.  Don't ask yourself if you can do it.  In the words of the greatest corporate slogan ever created:  Just Do It.

Run. Live. Die without regret.

Oh, and of course, LOVE along the way.