Monday, April 11, 2011

Doubt; On Climbing My Own Private Everest

Doubt is the great leveler.  Let doubt creep in and suddenly the probably becomes impossible.

Doubt crept in yesterday.  The door was left ajar by the exhaustion of the weekend.  And the excitement of doing things I had not tried previously.  And for milestones on the calendar.  One week from today I'll be in my post-ultra life.

A few months ago I bought an arm load of books to pass the time while not running.  I also am interested in writing styles.  Quite be accident I picked up two books - Into Thin Air and The Kid Who Climbed Everest - about expeditions to the "roof of the world".  Could not have been a more fitting way to build up to the Lumberjack Endurance Run.

Bear Grylls, on speaking of the South Col, the last camp before any push to Everest's summit, says that no amount of money or technology can get one to that point.  Above 26,000 feet helicopters are useless.  There are no roads so wheeled vehicles are not a consideration.  And while one needs the proper equipment to make the bid, supplemental oxygen, crampons, ice axes and the like do nothing without the will to use them.

The same goes for this coming weekend.  One could get in the car and drive one hundred miles.  But no one is handing out belt buckles for that.  Covering ground on foot by running or walking (or crawling) is the only way to achieve this goal.

This week is about battling the doubt.  I plan to run some, so I don't forget how.  Most of my packing is done.  I have to stay in the present some with the family and real life still in play - kids, school, dance.  Come Thursday and everything changes.

Thank you to everyone that has offered encouragement and support.  I appreciate your faith in my abilities.  My anxiety comes for not being able to fully express everything in my head and heart.  Sometimes I feel that because I cannot find words to flesh out these feelings I would if they are real or valid.  Non-runners don't get it.  Even short and middle distance runners look at me as if I am some sort of freak.  Experienced marathoners have questioned my sanity (I have done this as well).

My ultimate goal is not the belt buckle.  What I need to know is that when I have nothing left to give, and lay shattered and broken, I can find enough "something" keep moving.  It is either in me or not.  I have it at this moment or I don't.  There is no need to put it on the packing list for its not something I can simply forget at home on the coffee table.

I just hope I find it.  And have the fortitude to use it when I do.

You may ask "why run 100 miles?" if it is this debilitating emotional, not to mention physically.  Because I can't find what I seek in a book.  It's not on television or online.  This level of discovery is not available to me on a therapist's couch.  5k, 10k and marathons are not long enough to tear down and rebuild my spirit.

My spirit is in need of renovation.

This is why I run.


  1. I'm an Everest addict, lol. I will climb it someday, probably for alot of the same reasons your running your ultra. I'm sure you'll do fantastic! I'm looking forward to the race report :)

  2. It occurred to me that since New Years I've read three books by men that have climbed Everest, all with their own brushes with death, whether on the mountain or elsewhere.

  3. Logan, recently I was running and considered that I couldn't make it. Then I thought, well, if I stop, how will I feel about it. More importantly, I realized how great I would feel if I continued to the finish. THAT feeling cannot be obtained any other way than through accomplishment. Otherwise, it cannot exist. Was there a point in your life when running a marathon seemed "way out there"? Now you can run one and in very good time! Doubt is a part of the mental processes regarding an Ultra, I'd gather. It's like in meditation: thoughts will arise, the secret is to recognize them and then let them pass - don't stop on them - don't dwell on them. Through all the mental static, I bet you're like ultra-excited - super stoked! This is a fun adventure! The little boy Logan in you is about to wet his pants to get on the trail. Good luck and Godspeed!