That feeling of reaching a summit, when those last few hundred feet of vertical struggle is over, there is a feeling of relief, humility, awe, gratitude, achievement – but it is brief, and after a few minutes, it’s time to turn around and go back the way you came. It’s not that the view gets old or that you don’t want to savor the moment, but the goal has been achieved and no matter where you sit, some pointy rock edge is jamming you in the ass – it gets cold and windy and chances are a storm will roll in before too long. Before the journey down the mountain is even over, you find yourself already craving another and reminiscing about the journey up, almost wishing you were still headed in that direction.
One of the main drivers behind my desire to run ultras is curiosity. Come to think of it, the main driver behind most everything I do is curiosity…
After reading Born to Run about 7 years ago, the book that introduced me to the concept of both trail running and ultra running, I became fascinated with the topic. I was living in Atlanta and ran mostly road, topping out at about 5 miles. I had no idea that I would move to Boulder or run ultras. By the time I decided to move out to Colorado, I was completely captivated by trail running and trail runners – I had visions of bumping into Scott Jurek every time I went for coffee and becoming BFFs. Well, I have run into him several times, but I’m pretty sure he just thinks I’m a creep… Turns out he’s not the only trail runner in this town and I’ve made a good few trail friends here, most of whom can confirm that I’m not a creep…
When I was in high school, I was attracted to guys who were interested in having deep conversations about philosophy or economics or anything I was curious about, which was everything. The first and last to break me was one of those. He was one of the smartest people I’ve ever known and a true original thinker. I met him when I was his math tutor. He was crazy smart but didn’t care about proving it. He introduced me to the author Douglas Coupland and more specifically the book Life After God. I read it at least three times, reveling in the fact that someone could articulate with such sarcastic wit, the existential curiosity that lived within me.
Nobody wants to deal with any of these, but if you’re a human adult, you’ve certainly encountered all of these things and probably taken them a bit too personally a time or two. If you’re me, you have become intimately familiar with each one of them, like a trio of sister-wives.
The One Where She Ran
If you read my inaugural post, you may remember that I confessed to being too intimidated to join any of the RMR runs because it’s a large group of fast and furious runners that are much stronger and fitter than me. I promised that for every comment anyone made committing themselves to doing something they were afraid of, I would join one RMR run this year. Well, this week I attended the first one facing that all too familiar fear of “I’m not good enough”.
As humans, it is easy to be lulled into complacency about what the future looks like based on the patterns of the past.
Woke up at 6:15, went to work, sent all the emails and did all the to-do’s, arrived to group run with one minute to spare, went home to melt skin with scalding shower necessary for raising core temperature, ate food, brushed teeth, read one page of book, fell asleep… repeat.