Sorry all for the super long time between posts. My computer decided that it would no longer feature a working keyboard, which made typing up a post rather difficult to say the least. I now have a new keyoard, so things should start getting posted with more regularity.
Over the past several years I have been asked many times why I trained for and raced the Ironman and now am getting into Ultramarathons (cause if I was nuts for doing the Ironman, now that I've moved on to Ultras I'm really off the deep end). What is my motivation to go and run for hours at a time? Are you some sort of masochist? Nope, cause nothing hurts me. Only pain.
Anyways, the question why has been whizzing round my brain like a rabid gopher for some time, and I'd like to take a stab at answering it and some of the other big questions that I get asked on a borderline daily basis. (barefoot running I will address in subsequent posts)
Cause I love to run. Seriously, when I'm running on a consistent basis, I feel better, less stressed (distance running has been described as an active meditation by more than one person, to which I heartily agree), eat better, and am in general a better person to be around (I hope). My body also seems to take naturally to running much more so than biking, swimming, football, sumo wrestling, etc. So far a winning scenario. Plus I'm more of a diesel when it comes to sports. I can haul at a steady pace for as long as I want, but don't have any sprint or top end speed worth mentioning.
The thing that inspires me the most for ultra's is that it is almost completely about the journey. It's a journey of self discovery, suffering, and just plain old getting out and enjoying the fact that you are alive. It's a journey of choices. It's easy to make the easy (or even hard) choices when life is good and things are humming along tikety boo. I want to explore myself, and see what decisions I make when things are all sorts of nasty and all I want to do is curl up and sleep (or cry). We are who we are, and where we are based on our choices. Ultra's provide a unique opportunity to see what choices we'll make. In an ultra distance race, you voluntarily put yourself under intense fatigue, physical and mental pain, and that's on a good day. In a race you can drop out any time, no one is forcing you to do it. What choice will I make in a moment when I hit a wall? Will I flow around, over, through the wall? Or will I allow myself to be blocked by an obstacle?
In a sense, ultramarathons provide me an opportunity to transcend myself and what I thought/think my limitations are. We all have limitations, some actual, and others imaginary. I want to challenge my limitations and transcend what I thought I was capable of, and become more fully the person that I am meant to be. This philosophy has grown out of my ultra distance pusuits and has become a something of a groundwork for myself in my daily life.
It may be a little long winded but that's a rather rough and insufficient look at my motivation at why I am into running ultra marathons. Truthfully I don't know the complete reason 100% why. Everyday I run with a slightly different mindset, and have a unique experience. I don't want to try to force a certain mindset, feeling or energy on myself when I run, or live my daily life, but rather embrace the moment and be thankful for the moment, good or ill.
Run because you love it. If you don't, learn to love it. Running will bring things into your life that you could never imagine. - Scott Jurek