I’m craving adventure. I’m craving an adrenaline rush. I’m craving a sense of accomplishment. That feeling that I got when I crossed the finish line of my first (and so far, only) 100-mile ultramarathon. The feeling that I did something incredible, something that most people wouldn’t believe that they could do, something that served no utilitarian purpose other than to find out if I could do it.
I don’t have anything to fill that craving right now, and I don’t know when I’ll get it either. Technically, I’m signed up for the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile ultra in February, but due to some unforeseen financial circumstances, it likely won’t happen. I just haven’t been able to bring myself to actually cancel my registration yet. I’ve known for awhile that I wouldn’t be running the race, and so I haven’t been training for it. Since moving to Texas 11 months ago, my longest run has been 18 miles. I’m embarrassed to even admit that, since I call myself an ultramarathoner. And let’s not even talk about how long it’s been since I’ve gone trail running.
Things get in the way. Shit happens. Life goes on. Unfortunately, I feel like I’ve been spending my the last 12 months of my life dealing with the practical things that need to get done. Renovating the house that we just bought. Fixing my bike so I can get to work. Hell, I’m not even sure what else I’ve done when I look back, I just know that I’ve felt incredibly busy, without a lot of time for me. But I’m getting a little tired of the mundane. I need some adrenaline, some sort of challenge.
Maybe I’m looking for something that will help define who I am. I like being the guy who ran a hundred miles. I don’t care that people think I’m crazy – at least I was willing to try to find my limits, to see what I’m capable of. I want more of that.
I’ve got a list in my head of things I want to try, adventures I want to have.
But for each of those adventures, I’ve got a separate list of excuses that I let hold me back:
Run the grand canyon, rim-to-rim-to-rim in one day
but I’m afraid of heights, and I’ve never been able to be on the side of a cliff
without experiencing debilitating and paralyzing fear. Besides, who would
go with me that wouldn’t be way faster than me, or that I wouldn’t be
waiting to catch up to me?
Finish another 100 mile ultra
but I don’t want to just finish, I want to finish well, and the time required to
properly train is just too much right now with all of the work that still needs
to be done on the house. And the money to travel to a race is too much.
Complete an Ironman triathlon
but I panic in water where I can’t see the bottom, and if I got kicked
during the swim start I’d probably have a panic attack. And the cost? $650
just for the registration fee? We could use that to pay off some student loans,
or put it towards a vacation for us, or buy some kayaks, or ….
Take my wife backpacking in the mountains where I grew up
but how do we head back up to Canada and not spend time with my family? And
there are friends that I haven’t been able to see in a decade that I would like to
finally catch up on. And I gave away a lot of my camping gear years ago. And it’s
super expensive to board all of our dogs while we go away.
(this isn’t a “challenge” like the others, but it is an adventure that I regret not having done yet despite being married for 10+ years)
I could go on with the list, but there’s really no reason to. The point is that I’ve been letting “life” get in the way of living. I need to start making conscious decisions to pursue the things that I want to be doing. There will still be practical challenges to overcome (like $$, unless someone wants to sponsor a first-time Ironman triathlete!), but I need to do what is in my power to change them.
Why can’t I go run the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim-to-rim? So what if I’m afraid of heights – I don’t want to let my fears dictate who I am. And I’ve got no real good financial excuse, since I work for an airline and can fly there for free. I could even bribe a friend to come along with a free plane ticket.
Anyone want to run the Grand Canyon with me?