Recent thoughts going into my final 27 days of training
Let’s start with living. Take a deep breath in. Do you feel that? That is life in it’s purest form. No breath, no life. It’s the basic component of CPR-the ABCs- Airway, Breathing, Circulation. You have to have an airway to breath. Ventilators can breathe for you, but eventually you must breathe on your own, or it is shut off & you die. Take another deep breath. Relax & let the stress melt away. You are alive.
I think it was Les Brown who said, “Some folks are dead at 25, but not buried until they are 85.” I love this metaphor as it describes so many who just “settle” for existing. They are born, go to school, get a job (or not), retire, and wait to die. Their dreams, hopes, and talents are buried with them. They are the naysayers, the ones who don’t believe in themselves even when no one else will. They give up and settle. They never go outside of their comfort zone.
Now, I’m not saying to be irresponsible. Heck, in this day & age of entitlement, we need more responsibility. What if we all took a few more risks? You will never no how far you can go until you push yourself. Don’t die while you are still alive. Here’s one I’ve used before, but is worth repeating:
On dying: Was is Star Trek that always started with, “Space the Final Frontier?” I personally don’t believe that is true. I think death is the final frontier. What is left after that? Despite one’s beliefs on the afterlife, it is permanent and the one thing that we cannot control. We are all going to die. Many do not want to believe or accept that. That is why it is so hard to sell life insurance & why many a family is left to pick up the pieces and sort things out after the fact.
Many die way too young. So much living left to do, so much heartache left for those who loved them. Their chances are over. Just. like. that. Human nature, or selfishness (human nature), or the “I’ve got time” mentality makes one think that one will always be there. Words left unsaid, fences left un-mended, & “one of these days” are gone forever.
A tale of two women:
2/24/2016 a young woman left this world unexpectedly. I’m sure when she awoke that morning that the thought that she would perish that day never crossed her mind. So tragic, so sad, no time to say goodbye, just gone. I met this young woman when she was seven years old. She died way too young at the age of 40. Her facebook post from the previous day, almost exactly 24 hours to the time of the accident was this:
A few days ago a friend called to tell me that a former co-worker was in the hospital and got devastating news out of the blue that she had inoperable cancer. In fact, it is so bad that they could not distinguish one organ from another when they opened her up. The only symptom she had was stomach swelling. The medical professionals have given her 3-4 months to live before her departure date. She herself is one of the finest medical professionals I know, and she taught me a lot about being a nurse. Tragic-yes. Still young by today’s standards of longevity in her early sixties. Yet she has the advantage of getting her affairs in order and saying her goodbyes.
As my training is winding down for the Epic Ultra 100, I have struggled to get things just right. Finding the right pace per mile has been one of the issues that has been difficult. Not too fast-definitely not too fast. Yet for someone who has always strived for speed, it has been a challenge wrapping my head around this. It is almost painful to go too slow, but I know this is what must be done to go the distance. So far, I have varied between an 11-12 minute pace and that has seemed to work even with 30 second walks every 4.5 minutes. I know I should slow down even more. I will hit my longest training run on 3/19 of 50 miles-2 weeks before the Ultra. Other struggles have been getting nutrition just right, strengthening my core/hips, and adjusting to carrying 2 liters on my back. At best, I am mentally prepared & I am determined that the other things will just fall into place.
LIVING: Had anyone told me a few years ago that I would be running 100 miles, I would have laughed. But that has been with so many other things in my life as well. I have chosen not to die while still living and breathing. There is so much more living left to do. I am a risk taker & an adventure seeker. I have goals and hopefully will inspire others along the way.
DYING: I realize that I have no control over when my number is up, but I sincerely have tried to leave no regrets. Nor do I have control over how others choose to respond to me, leaving words left unsaid. That is for them to deal with when the time comes, but my mind is at peace. It requires dying to self, self-righteousness, pride, & ego. Sadly, many people would rather hang on to their need to “be right” than to “make things right” with others.
Metaphorically speaking-what will it take to find your 100? Is there a phone call you need to make? A debt you need to pay? A visit, a card? A vacation you’ve been meaning to take? A talent that needs to be unleashed? The chance for “one of these days” may never come.
Hope to see you out on the road or trails,