Yep! Here we go again with the training for another 100 mile effort in the search for the unholy grail….or rather another belt buckle. Unlike the last time I trained when everyone knew what I was up to, I’ve kept my plans a little more quiet. There have been many more solo runs this time and this may be one of the most important differences between the two training periods.
Actually, the training cycle is about HALFWAY complete with race day only 6 1/2 weeks away!! EEEEEKKK! I feel stronger for the most part because unlike training for Brazos Bend 100, I am doing speed work and training through the fall and winter is completely different than training through the horribly hot, soul sucking heat of Texas in the summer. I’m also following the plan of someone else this time rather than trying to make it up on my own. Tough to be the person who strives for control…that makes a CHOICE to seek advice from someone else on how to do this thing better!
This brings me to the real reason why I sat to write this piece tonight, while the house is absolutely silent for once. Control and the counsel of others. These are subjects that often ring true for many of us who make the decision to run these long distances. We seek to control all the many variables of our lives only to find that there is so much yet completely and utterly OUT of our control. Much to our chagrin and often extreme dismay we cannot control everything no matter how much we think we have it all sewn into a nice tight little bundle.
On the other hand, as we search out the perfect 100 mile endurance event to participate in, listen to the guiding wisdom of others, plan our race down to the most minute detail and otherwise engage in the planning of everything from what we will wear to how long we shall sit (or not) at each aid station, it all boils down to one thing….how much of what happens is truly out of our control and that there is only ONE thing we can control on any given day, race days included…to continue to put one foot in front of the other and keep truckin’.
Listening to the wisdom of others has never been my strong suite, however I have found that there are some people out there who I just GET. For instance, I just finished watching Ethan Newberry aka The Ginger Runner in his film about his very first 100 mile race and am currently reading a book by Ed Ayres called The Longest Race. Both of these men have much to teach, no matter how inadvertently, about how best to get through the journey of a foot race of 100 miles. They are not the only ones who will go with me on this journey to once again do the unthinkable, reach the unreachable and control the uncontrollable…There are some other men and a few women as well who are part of this tribe of people who run and that I look up to and whose words of wisdom I hold dear during those dark moments when the going gets tough.
I listen to my friend Mike who tells me, “Don’t think, just move!” and another friend Doug who assures me that this too shall pass and all I have to do is keep moving forward…relentless forward progress. John, more like my brother now, always there with a steady stare and strong words of encouragement – “You got this”, he tells me. I remember the wit and energy of JoAnna who shares my middle name and has an unshakable will. Even the beautiful daughters I’ve helped create, lift me up with their courage and their love….
The list, my friends, could go on and on. You see, although many of these people will not be on my next journey in person to bear witness to the power of will, they will be there in my mind. There’s no way that any of us can make it on this journey all by ourselves. We take with us all the power and encouragement of everyone we meet. During those moments when our body tells us that there’s no possibility of making it move forward for even another foot, we take the power of the words and use it fan the fire to propel us forward once again.
There is plenty of dark energy, negative matter that floats around inside our mind which tells us that there’s no way we can do this…again. All the negativity of the well-meaning around us who say they have no understanding of WHY we’d want to punish ourselves this way. It’s unhealthy to run 100 miles. You are selfish for putting your family through the pain of seeing you in pain afterwards when your body is completely wrecked…..All the negativity in the world and it serves absolutely ZERO purpose so rather than give in to it, find a way to use it. Use the negative as another source of fire to keep you moving on the darkest path when nobody is around to see your tears…That’s my goal.
The countdown has begun and the journey of 100 miles begins with one single step…
Until next time friends….