Day 135 / long post
I pretty sure I wrote why I like to run some time ago. I think I did. If I had not, I am sure it can be pieced together from all my posts. It was kind of obvious why I run.
My mother dearest spoke to me over last weekend after I finished the ultra and is preparing to do another, and basically asked me why I am so gunho on running and doing outdoor stuffs one after another. I will be running by myself another ultra (28 miles) this weekend, untimed and self hosted, in the woods, far away from any civilization (not true but to most people it is) and is moderately risky. There is probably that 1% of me not making it back, because of from lightning, bear attack, or falling off the cliff, or from a common cold (I am still sick) — all outdoor activities are inherently dangerous, or maybe from being in a car accident…there is a higher chance of that, since I will be driving back in the wee hour to do another race, a half marathon near home in DC. Joking aside, death is real. Ony last race it hit home when a gentleman collapsed on the course and pass away. Those around him tried to help him but it was not successful. I know the danger. It will about a 4 hour drive to get back. I will make sure I’ll get plenty of sleep before getting in the car after my 28 mile run.
She said and I agree that if I am not running I’d be camping and if I’m not camping I ‘d be biking or swimming or doing this race or that. If none of those, I’d be traveling somewhere out in the jungle or in another country. There are constantly activities and there is no break it seems.
I know she is not against my running. She has been very supportive and been to many of my races. She stressed I have to do things in moderation. I understood her point of taking things in moderation to slow down the wear and tear on my body.
Basically I disagree with her about doing thing in moderation. The reason is there is not enough time in the whole world of I wait! While my body is still capable of handling the stress, I will increase in intensity. It is that word! My key word of the year. I am reminded of Hector in Achilles. I think it was Hector. He could stay back behind the city wall and not face Achilles knowing once he did he would die (at least according to their prophesy). But he rather die young in a blaze of glory rather than of old age. I think Achilles’ mom was saying the same thing to try to convince Achilles not to go into battle but Achilles was a spoiled brat for other reason. He sat out not because of his mother’s word but because he was sulking about his war spoil, a woman, being taken from him. Later, he rejoined the battle out of rage on Hector and it was all due to his own making, but he was blaming others for his own problem. Any way….
I know Hector’s circumstance is much different than mine. The guy is fighting for the survival of his home and kingdom.
I do know that by doing a lot now, it will probably shorten my life tiny bit. I’m pushing my knees to ruin – it is possible at least according to general consent. However, if I don’t push to do as much as I am able right now, who know in the future if I am able. One fact I do know is each year, my body is getting weaker and weaker – a process called aging. Time is fleeting. The energy level I have now in my forties would not be the same when I am in my fifties or sixties, generally speaking. There are always exceptions. We met an 80 year old man while hiking the Laurel Highland trail last month. He was about to finish 70 miles with only couple miles to go (a task not many of us is able to do) and he was carried a much much heavier pack than ours because he was old-school, while we the newer generation benefitted from having the newer and lighter gear. He blew us all young ones out of that mountain.
The final point is why? She knows I want to run but where does it end? The answer is until my body can’t do it any more or my interest wane. Right now, I want to do more. So what then after I conquer my next challenge, say 50 miler marathon, or a 100 miler, or an Ironman. So what? I understand there is always something bigger out there. In a way her reasoning is, we shouldn’t even bother doing anything because we as normal people never really make it to the top.
I am not doing it for a bragging right. I felt as long as my body is able to handle it, I will do it. Pain is insignificant because there is a joy in overcoming all obstacles to get to the finish line. I think there is an intrinsic value to set a goal and reach it. Hey, if I am good with other things like making money, I probably would focus my life on doing that. Running so far give me that peace and joy. Making money does not. Running, I can say it is something I am good at doing to a degree. Probably a non runner would not get it. I know I never be an Olympian but still there is a potential in me I got to reach for and be the best I can be.
On a secondary point, each new challenge prepares me for the next one. Like a 5K led to a 10K and a 10K led me to running a Half marathon and a half led me to doing a Full. This year, I have been running Ultras and marathons are almost becoming a 10k for me. Not saying those races or events weren’t hard any more but they are no longer an end of the world for me. I did a 5K after hiking 26 miles two weekends ago, and that 5k was the hardest 5K in my life.
There is no more answer to why or reason for my running. I kind of want to qualify for Boston, to be able run a marathon under 3 hours instead of 5. But that just a small goal. If I reach it, I would still continue to run.
She gave an example that some people after all their searching and busyness and they come back to a full circle of where they started. They found what they found if they haven’t run all over the place they would see the answer sooner. Not sure what she is driving at. It sounds like I should sit and meditate on the essence of life and reach my dao. I don’t know.
I don’t think I am searching for anything though. I felt every time I hit the peak, I could see a little more that only those who have been there could see. I got this from a web novel I read called Terror Infinity (a bad book with a bad ending, don’t read it). The main character reached a stage only he as a leader was privilege to get a glimpse of. It is hard to tell others what that was. Other characters in the novel just had to trust him that it was worth it for all the troubles and suffering he went through. It is a refining process.
Right now I am still trying to wrap my mind on how to run or endure a 50 mile or 100 mile event. It just blows my mind that people did it and I don’t know how. I don’t know if next year I would be brave enough to tackle a 100 miler. Yes, they all say left foot, follow by the right foot and repeat until you get there.