Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why the ultramarathon goal?

An ultramarathon is defined as anything longer than 26.2 miles. They come in different varieties, 50k, 100k, 50 mi, 100 mi. These are the races that reach into your soul knock you out like Mike Tyson would have in the 90s and then teach you something. What that something is I really have no idea. I want the knowledge that these ultrarunners show on their faces, that sense of peace.

I am not really sure what I am trying to prove to myself by attempting an ultramarathon. I never really thought of myself as a runner until very recently and to be honest I am still scared of that adjective. Everyone who asks…I say… if you want to do anything you must invest.

Investments are time, money, energy, sleep and none of that can be easily regained. Why I am willing to invest so much of myself in the pursuit of a goal that I cannot name? I catch myself thinking of the steps that have brought me here. I was sad, depressed, overweight, angry, insulted and offended. But beyond all that I had an overwhelming sense of duty towards myself. I felt the responsibility of making the internal self image match my external representation.

When I looked in at myself I saw a stranger. I saw what I had become over the years and it made me want to vomit. The self I saw did not match the self I thought of and that not only sickened me but it scared the crap out of me. It lit a fire. Like Metallica says, “give me fuel give me fire give me that which I desire”…I guess that long look in the mirror triggered a transformation of sorts. By having my self-perceptions not match…I felt like I lived a lie, an unhappy lie. I know I could be the confident, well spoken, respectful and kind person I thought of, but it was not coming across. I could not even see it. I wanted it to show in word and deed… so I got to work.

I signed up for a marathon. Months ago there was a promise to be there from someone I believed in. The date was ingrained in our minds, march 20. It did not happen. They did not show up for whatever reason. Unfortunately, no shows are pretty common for me so I have learned to deal. I was very lucky to have someone there for me at the finish line, but what when the finish line was not so clear and the goals unsure? I want to run ultras because it’s a distance that requires I do it for me. It’s a selfish endeavor to run for stupid amounts of time seeking a goal that very few will ever know or even care to know. But I have seen the peace that the trails give…I have touched it. I did not have it for long, but I felt like I was one with myself…my physical and mental images were one; happiness.

I do not know what the ultra distances will hold for me. Maybe on a long run I will run into myself. Maybe I will find that person within me that holds on to so much junk and kick their ass; making me release the kung fu death grip on all those issues. Maybe I will find nothing, maybe I will find out where my limit is. But regardless, it is worth the risk because I refuse to have my limits set before even trying. I refuse to let baggage determine my future decisions and dictate my pace. I am tired of carrying that baggage and I hope that somewhere in the distance I can just drop it off and never find it again, bad airline style. I set the pace, I set my goals, God willing, he’ll show the way and maybe just maybe I will find what I am looking for.

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