Why I Run: Part 4

Running in standing water

This is part four of a series answering the question of Why I

Running has been humbling recently. I am one week away from the Everglades Ultras and I already feel like I've got a DNF (Did Not Finish). Last week I struggled to finish a 17 mile training run. My exhaustion brought me to tears by my perceived failure. I felt as if I had fallen so far. How could someone who completed a mountainous 100 mile run through thunder and hail struggle so much to finish doing 17 miles on flat terrain? No matter how much I might want to hang on to who I was just 8 months ago, that person is gone. The body I now inhabit is not the same as the one of last summer. Running's latest lesson for me is about impermanence.

When I signed up for The Everglades Ultras, I planned to run the 50 mile version of the race, but I’ve come to realize that just completing the 30 mile variation will be a struggle for me right now. I worked hard for six months preparing to run The Bryce 100. I was focused in my approach to training and got up to run despite the cold of winter, the snow and ice on the ground, or my own desire to just sleep in a little later. My body and mind adapted and got stronger. I changed who I was.

But nothing stays the same, no matter how much we wish that it would. In the months since Bryce, I approached my running as a casual endeavor and when I began preparing for the Everglades Ultras, I allowed a busy schedule and lack of discipline to prevent me from putting in the miles required to be fully prepared. Once again, I changed who I was.

Life is change. Nothing stays still. Everything is in motion, including the composition of our bodies and minds. Everyday the decisions we make affect who we are and how we impact the people and the world around us. Achievements don't last, but fortunately neither do failures. Each moment we have a choice, and those choices effect a change in who we are.

Impermanence can be a disturbing aspect of life, but it also creates new opportunities. We are not stuck with who we are and we can change our situation if we are not satisfied with it. Change will happen regardless of what we do or don't do so we might as well take some responsibility for what direction we move in. To be healthy, we must choose wisely what we put in our mouths and what we do with our bodies. To live a fulfilling life, we must decide how to spend the limited amount of time we are allotted. We can choose to be positive, even when our initial reactions to a situation might dictate otherwise. Each choice, each decision we make causes a change, and over time, these changes help to create who we are.

Are there changes you want to make in your life?

What choices will lead to that change?

To Be My Best Self

Original Source: Personal journal entry written on 07.07.15

Dancing at Mile 50

After meditating the last few mornings, I’ve been doing a prayer of gratitude and asking for the strength to “be my best self”. This is the self I aspire to be. The self who is good and kind to those he interacts with, who thinks before he speaks and does not use words that would bring harm to others. I want to be the self who follows through on the things he commits to.

Too often the self I have been lately is distracted, my attention moving rapidly from one meaningless thing to another. I have allowed the whims of my taste buds to dictate what I have put into my mouth and allowed boredom or stress to regulate how much I consume, whether that be in the form of food or digital distractions. I have made my lists, and then ignored them for weeks on end, choosing instead to chase down rabbits in long, dark holes. I have chosen the quick fix instead of the things that could add value and knowledge to my life.

I want to be that guy who crossed the finish line at Bryce Canyon. I want to be the guy who put in the daily work needed to accomplish a goal, who did the little things that were necessary to get where he wanted to go, who sacrificed doing the things that might have brought fleeting pleasure for the tasks that brought a life long reward. I want to be the guy who faced pain and difficulty and still managed to be nice to his crew, to tell jokes, and do a little dance even though the road ahead was still long and difficult and soon to be dark. I was my best self that day and now I want that for every day.