All of us have suffered through one thing or another in our life. But seldom do we dream about the opportunity to suffer, get excited talking about what makes us suffer, then meticulously plan every detail with enthusiasm that will make us suffer. Welcome to my Quest.
Of course I don’t suffer every time I go out to run on desert trails, but I have at times and will again. It’s said the difference between running a marathon and a 100 mile endurance run is in a marathon you will potentially “hit the wall” around miles 21-23, by mile 26.2 it’s over. In a 100 mile endurance run there will be 3 or more “walls” and each one can potentially last for several hours. I know these walls are there, I know I’ll hit them and have to fight my way through, I know at some point or multiple points I’ll decide “this was a stupid idea” and want to quit. Yet I choose happily to do it anyway.
I’ve read to complete a 100 mile endurance run you run the first half with your legs, the last half with your mind. I like to read books about other runners and their adventures. But I mostly like to read and benefit most from books about survival. Books by Aron Rolston; “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” and Marcus Luttrell’s; “Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10″. These amazing stories give me something to refer back to when suffering through a 50K in unseasonably warm 90° March heat or a 50 mile mountain race. To think about someone enduring five days trapped at the bottom of a slot canyon, hand pinned against a rock wall by a 2 ton stone, drinking their own urine to survive and eventually cutting off their own rotting arm with a dull pocket knife or a severely wounded and last surviving member of his platoon, Navy SEAL fighting and escaping a mountain side full of Taliban fighters makes running 50 or 100 miles with an aid station no more than 7 miles away at any given time seem fairly easy. Or at least doable.
Over the next 5 1/2 months I’ll share my quest with you, the highest points and the lowest points. I’ll share what I learn from my training experiments and what I learn about myself as I train through the intense heat of an Arizona summer, all the while trying to maintain balance in my family life, work life and training life. And hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to inspire some of you to be more active and start your own quest.
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