Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
The bane of an explorer's existence is being locked in port, unable to set out on a quest for knowledge or discovery. Early seekers often did not have a goal in mind but merely a heading. Pick a direction, set the sails and go.
I have suffered a bit of cabin fever lately. My most recent journey was truly epic but I believe at heart I am a wanderer ready for the next adventure.
That next adventure is already begun to germinate. There are logistics to be worked out and permissions to be obtained. At present there are more questions than answers. I hope to reverse that course in the coming months.
As an online ultra running mentor once said, the greatest adventures in life are those of our own creation.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
- Don Draper, Mad Men
Fifty two weeks removed from my first marathon and two weeks since my first 100 miler, I have reached a crossroads.
In regards to running and writing, I have run out of words. That spark is extinguished.
There are still ideas to contemplate and stories to develop, but they are better told elsewhere.
Thanks for listening. Keep moving forward.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
|Entrance to the Hill Country State Park, ten miles west of Bandera, Texas.|
|Equestrian Aid Station with a double stop. Only hot food available other than at the start/finish area. This was the site of our crew HQ.|
|Discussing race strategy, logistics and who should be "the boss". I lost on all fronts.|
|Cactus Rose race director Joe Prusaitis preparing the finishing area on Thursday before the race.|
|At The Lodge aid station. Served at the race start/finish area, packet pick up, race HQ and source of a volunteer staffed grill. Wonderful people gave of their time and energies to see the races through to Sunday morning.|
|The red line is the course. The flat map is no indication of how sadistic the topography is laid out.|
|I'm a wild and crazy guy!|
|Sign on the trail.|
|Five miles to go. You'd be smiling too. Or not.|
Final circuit completed in 8:40.
Total time from start to finish - 32:22:49
|A good man caring for a dirty foot.|
|Congratulating my new friend on a race well run.|
|I tried to chug it before it was replaced with Guinness.|
|Nothing says Mission Accomplished quite like a sheet cake. Damn tasty too.|
|Best crew in the world.|
|Don't call it a skirt.|
|Not sure I'll ever wash this off my car. I know it's a minivan. Don't laugh. You know I can chase your ass down.|
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
I am a licensed REALTOR. You might say it is my day job. As a sideline I shall on occasion teach a pre-licensing class. We do not discuss how to stage a home or hold an open house, but rather cover the material which the Real Estate Commission deemed necessary knowledge. A large portion of the text examines the law. One thing I have to remind students is that the law only cares on which side you stand. Your best intentions, no matter how sincere, mean nothing if you run afoul of the law.
Students will often argue that they would never break the law. They would never even consider doing something illegal or immoral. Unfortunately that does not matter. The law is very clear in this regard.
What is not so clear is human interaction. The consequences of our words or actions often outweigh whatever good we may hope to achieve.
An ill timed joke may cause more tears than laughs.
Advice may be interpreted as interference when your goal is nothing more than to provide an alternate perspective.
I think often on perspective - how my view of reality may differ from another person's view of the same situation. The only immutable fact is that once the words leave my mouth (or "send" is pressed) I have lost the ability to control the message. In many cases the original message behind the words is lost. After all, perspective is colored by our own experiences.
The lesson I've relearned is that good intentions don't mean a damn thing when you are suspected of crossing a line, of involving yourself in matters that don't concern you, or in a situation that ultimately is none of your business.
The trick is you may be asked your opinion. You may be called in to consult. Your advice may sincerely be needed and valued. Just know that your audience is larger than any one person. Your impact extends beyond any one person.
I have had opportunities to offer advice or a differing perspective. What I have learned (or am reminded) is that someone will not always welcome my opinion.
At that moment intention is squashed by interpretation. To the offended intention does not overcome misjudged actions. But by no means take this as a apology.
I do not regret my actions. I only regret the outcome.
In real estate, good intentions that run afoul of the law cost one a license. In my case good intentions can cost me friendships and the company of great people. It seems that losing my license would be easier to accept.
Monday, October 17, 2011
So many details remain to be worked out. So many thoughts to be reconciled before the signal to start is given.
I feel silly some days for how I go on and on about this event. I know quite a few people who run ultras and barely make a peep about it. Like Barry Sanders scoring touchdowns - act like you've been there before, and expect to get back.
However, I don't know that that feels like.
I know what it feels like to run a marathon. I've had only two official finishes, but it seems as though I run them for breakfast. I recall that within the first three miles of Lumberjack I was enamored with the idea of an ultra. Until that moment I had hardcore, awake-at-night dreams of running the New York City Marathon. Cruising into Central Park on a Sunday in November seems like the pinnacle of what I hoped to achieve in running, especially since I hoped to qualify for the even. I don't believe in lotteries and wanted to make my own luck.
Then I set foot on the trail. I tasted the wildness of nature; being alone with nothing but my thoughts for hours on end as if I were the only man on earth. Then I gulped hard on the pain of stopping short.
I DNF'd my first marathon. I had to stop due to unbearable physical pain. I was angry at myself and angry at anyone and everything on the planet for several days though pictures from the time may show differently. Lumberjack ended on a sour note, but it was noticeably free of anger. There was plenty of emotion, but anger was not one of them. I knew this was were I wanted to be.
For me the marathon was about speed and the medal. The ultra marathon is about something different. I know I can run a marathon with short notice. It may take 3:30 or maybe 4:30, but I can give you the miles if I get twelve hours to be ready. One hundred miles is different. There is no guarantee I will finish. Hell, with the course topography in the Texas hill country there is no guarantee I'll finish the first loop. However, if I finish the fourth loop I may learn a few things I would never know after twenty six point two.
I may talk a lot and say some thoroughly stupid shit at time, but I'd rather let it out than keep it bottled up.
In twelve days I plan to let my legs, lungs and heart do the talking.
#DoEpicShit - Whatever you do, make your effort EPIC.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Deciding how to spend those final fleeting hours would be difficult as I do not know the cause of my demise. Am I ill? Or like the upcoming movie In Time will my clock simply stop? For the purpose of this post I will conclude that the last day for me to live free of physical or emotional discomfort. It is a day without worry of disease or injury, incident or happenstance. Knowing that time is short is the only moment we may be truly immortal. In that moment, when we know the outcome, there is no fear for the future. Only the present matters. Being replaced all other things in order of importance.
I know that I would arise early. Probably before the rest of my family. Coffee would be made, per the usual routine and I would greet the day by gently waking the rest of the family. Or maybe I would let them sleep a while longer and go for a run in the predawn stillness. As I run past homes still in slumber, or with kitchen lights just flickering on, I often wonder what is in store for that person, that family, that household. Is it a day for living, or another day of simply existing?
Since I have only twenty four hours there is no time for grand plans. No major sight seeing or jaunts to far off lands and sights as yet unseen. This day will probably be filled with the familiar. I will most likely stick with the comfortable, the activities that make me feel alive and power-filled.
If I could do any two things (since this is my post and I deserve to be selfish on my last day) I would spent the day with my wife and daughters and I would run as much as possible. Maybe they would bike along side me. I would run till tired. Occasionally I would stop to rest and take time to hold each one individually, giving them alternating turns being held close and warm. Grayha, adventurous and inquisitive, living life out loud. Lochlyn, passionate for reading and introspective. Lastly, Andria. The one that stood by me, sometimes confused by me, but always in love with me. She is the one I most hate to disappoint. [As I neared the end of Lumberjack in April, as I comtemplated dropping out well short of my one hundred mile goal, deciding how to break the news to Andria caused me the most grief.]
I really don't have any final meal requests. No last kick ass beer of choice. Probably wouldn't ask for that tumbler of Johnny Walker Blue I always hoped to taste.
Just me and my girls moving headlong to the abyss...
Now, someone may wonder what the fuck I am doing considering such a topic. Is this a veiled plea for help? Am I setting up a scenario to intentionally end my life? On the contrary! We get so rushed and harried in the pursuit of things that do not matter in the course of our existence that we often forget the very reason we are here - to be in community with each other, whether it is just in a small group friends or family, or larger circles in society. People constantly bark - my wife included - that we have no time, like the white rabbit slipping down the hole to Wonderland, we chase and pursue and rarely live in any moment.
Over that past few years life has been slowing down somewhat. I am seeing what is important. I cannot always provide for life's necessities, or provide to the degree required, but I am realizing what I need to be me, and to be of value to those reliant upon me.
I do hope that my final moment comes on a warm summer day, with long hours of sunshine and warm breezes. Maybe we take in one last sunset, one more chance to witness the ever changing color palette of natural wonder.
As might comes upon me, and the veil of darkness falls, I take my rest knowing that I moved closer to being someone of substance, integrity and conviction. Even though the past year or two has seen greater emotional trauma I believe I am stronger know for it. I believe I have a better sense of what is important to me, a keener sense of direction even if I am not sure of the ultimate destination.
I simply know the footing of this path feels right.
How would you live if given the knowledge of only one day?
Monday, October 3, 2011
My physical being is not the same. The scale and my clothing sizes would support that statement. However I am plagued by the ongoing knowledge that I am still - emotionally - a shell of the person I want to be. That change is proving to be the tougher challenge.
As I have mentioned before, this spring I became a fan of The Mental Illness Happy Hour, a podcast created by comedian Paul Gilmartin. The amazing thing about Paul's show is how he has brought together a collection of people that all yield insights into my own life and personality. I have been struck dumb on more than one occasion upon hearing my own words or thoughts flung back at me by a veritable stranger through the magic of the internet. Such a thunderbolt struck on Saturday.
The last Friday's interview subject was Teresa Strasser. You may know her from Adam Carrola's radio show or various programs on cable television. Which stood out most about Teresa's story is the self-doubt she possesses. She is capable and successful in her craft, yet holds on tightly to the fear that she is a disappointment to those around her. In the past she has avoided assignments to avoid failing those whom count on her. The ridiculous point is that avoiding the work creates the disappointment.
This is something I must deal with as well. I am clueless as to the cause. My childhood was not burdensome or pressurized, nor particularly stressful. My parents were not tyrants. They were proud of me, though I sensed that I could have always been a tiny bit better. They saw promise. They total me I had promise. Promise that when realized would - should -yield success in my future, in whatever manner I chose to utilize that promise.
Yet nothing stirred me. I did okay in school so long as I was engaged, but I rarely chose to excel. In my professional career I set my limitations based on the expectations of others and my other perceived weaknesses. If I could not envision success I did not pursue the dream. Just getting by was my code. Not a great code by which to live a life.
The fear inside me was that I am truly not a capable or talented or gifted as people perceive, and that when I fail they will realize as much and either pity me or worse, realize their mistake and cast me aside as some loser not worth their time or effort. The fear is that I am really a small person inside - mentally, intellectually, emotionally - and that everyone around me has overestimated my abilities.
Then I became a runner. On the course is the only time I don't fear disappointing people. Sure, the lead up to a race may be a source of nerves or jitters. How will people respond if my time is slower than expected, if I am not able to finish the race? The first mile is usually burdened by these stupid thoughts. Then slowly they are supplanted by thoughts of chasing the other runners ahead of me, like a dog after the mail truck. I forget that I am in danger of showing weakness. I realized that I am not running for anyone but myself. On Saturday I raced no one but my own inhibitions and the clock. And I won.
The truth is that no one every pushed me to run. Physical activity was not a focus as a kid. I tried team sports but that is different. Had I felt the true thrill of running as a kid, a teenager or even a young adult there is no telling how differently I may see myself today. Maybe I would feel more capable, more complete.
The epiphany of Saturday is that my running is not able to disappoint anyone other than myself. I have to live up to expectations established by me alone.
If I had but one desire in life to be fulfilled, it would be to walk as tall today as I did Saturday. To be as fast and determined and dedicated in my non-running life as I am when barreling toward that finish line. To know that I am what other people see when they look at me.
I do fear that I am becoming redundant in my writing of late. I may have trouble recalling the subject and tone of previous posts and am probably repeating the same tired drivel. In truth I rarely read (i.e. proofread) my posts once they are published. Call it a shotgun approach. Double barreled buckshot. Sawed off.
There is a lot of good anxiety at the moment in my life. I have been working with clients and making a little money. I am selling stuff only and emboldening people to tear down self-imposed obstacles. I have been communicating with friends and family on a somewhat better level, really getting to the root of matters and trying earnestly to learn where I became the me that struggles to be anything other than me.
Cactus Rose is drawing close. Beyond that I do not know for certain. The road is twisted and I do not see clear of the bend.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Here they are! Two quality tech tees with a truly epic statement to live by in all that we do. The shirts are available in men's and women's sizes. Please note the alternate spelling on the second layout. I have offered two versions to appeal to those of you that believe in the sentiment but do not want to present such an in your face statement. Some people may still be offended. But they need to get over themselves.
Click here to visit the order page and secure your #DoEpicShit (in either version) today!!! Free shipping also.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Confused yet? Me neither.
Over the past year I have experiences a lollercoaster (borrowed word) of emotion. Bright highs and fog-induced bottom-of-the-well lows.
Chilean miner lows. But their experience was a party compared to how I felt. Of course their lives were in constant danger, and people died as a result of the cave-in. I only felt like I might die.
What a drama queen.
My dress is at the cleaners. So no pics to be posted tonight. Sorry boys.
Back to the point of this post. I went to see my general practitioner. He dug some crap out of my foot last December after I tried a little barefoot run on Thanksgiving Day. He did not give me crap about it. He ran a few marathons in his past so he could understand my need to run.
I should say now that our first encounter was pre-ultra bug. I had not yet contracted the virus.
So there was a certain comfort in visiting his office again. My current issue was not liable to show up on an x-ray or blood test. Certainly no need to shove a tongue depressor down my throat.
A few days later I returned to spend two hours of my day taking a 567 question computer assessment to build a psychological profile of yours truly. In a style that is all my own I walked out in 45 minutes. Nothing like running a marathon in a slow 10k finishing time. I should tell you that my haste was mentioned in the opening paragraph of the assessment result I received on Tuesday.
Damn that computer program is smart.
I have to say how much I love my GP. The review appointment did not feel rushed. It was a conversation. An actual talk with listening and understanding and interplay between two people. God it felt great.
From the moment he began to explain the assessment results I was chortling. It seemed to nail me dead to rights. A lot of my quirks, mannerisms, aversions, etc were uncovered by the glowing box in the back room the previous week.
I hate social settings.
I hate crowds.
I dislike some aspects of my personal life and feel a flight response in dealing with certain situations (the spark to run per chance?).
I am overly critical of myself.
I diminish my abilities and hide in a corner.
The one surprise is than I am merely obsessive-compulsive. It seems that my OCD is not manifest in physical actions or interactions - I'm not Jack Nicholson from the open of As Good As It Gets. Now that dude was wack.
My tick is mental. I replay and overthink and analyze into the dirt situations that have yet to happen. Much of my anxiety comes from perceived interactions, dialogues that have yet to take place. So I preplan and rehearse and anticipate the worse possible outcomes. Then I employ evasive maneuvers to avoid that situation. No direct eye contact. No sound. No crossed paths [certainly no crossed streams].
The good news is that my assessment does not indicate any bipolar tendencies. Maybe the OCD allowed me to over analyze myself into thinking such a condition existed where none does currently. For that I am pleased.
It did say I am predisposed to delusion or paranoia. If you've read my blog or followed my dailymile posted you may have pieced that one together. The delusion part at least.
Before the doctor stepped in, the check-in nurse talked about her experience with the assessment. She had been the office guinea pig when they bought the program. She joked that it identified narcissistic tendencies in her personality, which sparked a brief discussion of narcissism and how such a condition may manifest itself.
Guess what the program did not identify in my profile.
Yup, narcissism. Not a trace.
Guess the damn thing isn't so accurate after all.
For those of you with interest or need, the assessment I took is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2). Inquire with you healthcare provider should you desire such a screening.
I look forward to finding a therapist so we may dig into my profile and my psyche. Should be interesting. For now I'll try to focus more on training, my upcoming adventure in Texas hill country and my fledgling entrepreneurial endeavor. Tee shirts, anyone???
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
At times there were problems or obstacles beyond my control. Outside my pay grade. Above my skill set. So I would do what any normal person might do. I approached my supervisor, laid out the situation and asked for assistance. Hell, I even begged. On one occasion I was in tears due to the frustration of my situation not being remedied. It took me seven years to realize these people were only out to protect themselves. It took me seven years to realize that my sanity would be shattered if I stayed employed there, because I understood that I did not matter. Just a sqeaky wheel that was never greased.
Then one day life went sideways. Upside down. In the ditch and head long into a tree. But this incident pressed me to ask for help. I was forced to seek professional help and try to rebuild me.
Soon thereafter my circumstances changed and the emotional triggers ceased to be. Or so I thought.
In reality the triggers never left. They simply lay dormant for a while. Though the reasons for my depression are different today, the fact that I still have these swings has not changed. So today I asked for help.
The difference between today and last time around is that except for my immediate family I was alone. I hid from sight. I held unreasonable concerns that my therapist would adversely judge me. I could not surrender to the act of being repaired.
Now I am ready. I have a support network of people that knows how I feel and speak of my issues from their own experiences. And this blog has peeled away any fears I had about revealing my true self.
The next task is to find a therapist prepared to deal with me. Wish me luck.
As I post this I have 47 days till my next race. I want to congratulate all the incredible runners around the country doing #epicshit every time I peek out of my hole. You people inspire me to become better on every level. Thanks for taking me under your wing and into the family of that is the running community.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
- I attempted a twenty four hour run without an organized event staff or experienced or otherwise dedicated crew.
- I attempted a twenty four hour run in an uncontrolled environment, relying on the driving ability of motorists to see and not kill me.
- I attempted to run solo for twenty four hours. Most people doing this have pacers, companions or at least a crew of people at a local high school track to monitor progress and provide for basic needs.
- While I may be off, I am not afraid of the distance or the time. Just give me a reason and I'll give my mind and body, my heart and soul.
- Thirty-two miles with Vibrams Five Fingers Bikila LS
- Thirty-two miles with Altra Zero Drop Instincts
- Total distance of sixty-four miles run in 11h33m over the span of twenty hours and thirty minutes. Rest break reflect the difference in running time versus total time. The distinction is merely for clarification.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
The top male and female finishers, on foot and/or wheeled, will receive a Do Epic Shit tee. Quantities are limited so winners will receive what I send them and like it!