I have been lazy, OK maybe more demotivated, I mean I haven't been inactive but I have just been scoreless on the running front. I don't run to score mind you, but having a goal is what makes the journey to that start line all the more rewarding, after that it's the luck of the day. Finally getting over the injury made me think about running differently, it made me appreciative, I contemplated never signing up for another race again as ultimately the races are only a competition between me and the road. I was also writing of a book that hung over every spare moment I had, many an evening I promised myself a little trail stint only to get bogged down in nailing a chapter or a long edit. The book is in the hands of my editor right now which leaves me no excuses, yes there has been life stuff too but really I just needed a kick up the ass and to be shown that a goal can change the perspective of life. Well, this weekend did it. Running fever hit me in the gut over the past two days like I have never felt before. I am hungry for an event so I can use it as a ballast in my crazy life, a beacon to guide me through the everyday crap that only gets me down if I let it. Here are the things that rocked my world this weekend.
- This sixteen km quad-crusher passes through my village every year in September and the hill at the midway point is formidable and punishing. This morning I saw my barefoot buddy Christian Harberts fly through in an effort that was just pure ease, the ease that comes from putting in the hard hours and loving what you do. He then turned around and ran sixteen km back home after the race!! He is just one of the many runners who laid it all out there today but the look on his face made me think that it's a while since I had that look.
- Berlin MarathonThe fastest course in the world and the one my friend Stefan Smith had been focussing on for months, he is a dailymile guy who only started running nineteen months ago. He braved early mornings, bad weather, lactic acid induced speed sessions and started knocking on the door of a sub three hour marathon early in the year. This morning he ran a sub 2:54 and owned the race. The fact that he is awesomeness personified makes it all the sweeter.
- Alicia takes up runningMy ex was never a runner, now she is and is doing her first half marathon in Novemeber, she has really gotten the hang of it and loves her training, watching her passion for it grow makes me smile wide. She will have many adventure ahead of her.
- Not only the greatest friend one could ask for but a stud on the road. I met him two years ago when he was injured and he is now a beast. Seriously, he threw down a 1:13 yesterday at the Akron Half Marathon and there wasn't a bother on him come the evening. He is going to show New York how it's done in a few weeks time. His discipline is one thing but his attitude is pure courage, he has more grit and fight in him than a few runners put together. He is also a super humble person who is as great off the roads as he is on them.
- Yesterday an elite mountain race in Spain demonstrated that it takes guts to make it to the end. I am more inspired by everyday runners than pros but this one was special and I followed it all day on Twitter. Kilian Jornet and Tony Krupicka battled through wind and rain in an eighty four km beast with over nineteen thousand ft of climbing. Only 183 of 900 starters finished such was the difficulty of the conditions/route and one lady succumbed to hypothermia during the night and sadly passed away. There is nothing romantic about dying whilst doing something you love, this death is a tragedy. But it is also a tragedy to not go out there and search for oneself, to waste life sitting on the sidelines. Danger is a part of running, but it's also dangerous to smoke and to fly on planes or drive a car.
I don't think racing is about winning (oxymoron that it is) what it takes to get you to that race is where the fun is. The camaraderie of the people who support us during good training and bad, the ones who boost our doubts and the ones who reign in the arrogance if we can't get our head through the door. It's a community with a shared vision, to take pride and do the best one possibly can with each adventure. In brief, the people in the community are exemplary and to be a member of that community is an honour. I have met friends that will lead to life long connections, as for the people I've come to know through blogs and the Internet, they are no less a part of my life because of a minor detail like needing to take an international flight to have a coffee together. Becuase of this huge weekend of inspiration and revelation I have decided to sign up for a 100km race in the Spring of next year, having made the decision I am already anticipating the work and effort it will take to be in the shape I want to be in. I now have a goal and I can hold onto that instead of drifting along aimlessly. Many thanks to the stacks of others too who get me fired up daily with stories of adventure, friendship and a love for the great outdoors.