Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Circular Inspiration of Ultra Running

Good Old War - That's Some Dream

I don't think a day goes by that I don't get inspired, or pass on some inspiration in the sport. This is due to what I like to think of as the circular nature of inspiration in the sport. Believe it or not, every runner from the very top to the very bottom, (Even you! Yes, you reading this right now!) has done something to inspire someone else. From the image of an injured Frank Velasco hobbling from start to finish to complete 100k at Javelina a few weeks ago, to the image of the a grinning Geoff Roes polishing off the performance of a lifetime (thus far) at Western States, there are thousands of things that inspire me.

The reason is that ultra running is naturally sort of a Good Old War (shameless plug for the above band). Every time you lace up your shoes, pick up your bottles, and saddle up, you are taking on a challenge to perfect an impossibly difficult act. The myriad number of ways a foot can strike, a training plan can be executed, or a race can be dissected innately leave us with a task that can never be perfected. Therefore, we accept that we are going to struggle, we are going to make mistakes, and we will try our best through all the imperfections and flaws. However, within this immense challenge lies the beauty of a great opportunity to inspire.

Regardless of skill level, the attempt to conquer this challenge is inspirational. At the beginning of an ultra, every runner has a certain specific chance to finish. Preparation, motivation, experience, and talent put every runner in a unique challenge. When things go wrong, the magic comes out. I promise you this, hang out at an aid station for an hour and it's not hard to find motivation to try your best at ultras. Sure, there's the good, the bad, and the ugly, but every race has a significant amount of people who spit in the face of weakness and failure. That is the magic that we need to take everywhere in our lives..

Courage is being scared to death – and saddling up anyway.
–John Wayne

1 comment:

Paige said...

Good stuff! Well said.