Skip to main content

"Turning mistakes into gold." -Eddie Veder

Debriefing. Discovering yourself in the wilderness. We must lose ourselves to find ourselves.
...these are all phrases I was brain-washed with as a Recreational Leadership Minor.

Ok, so if that last one is true, I must really be FOUND.

One of my goals this year was to discover more about myself, where my motivation comes from, and what works for me athletically.

I was contemplating this while running in negative temps at 4am (I woke up at 2:30am that morning I was just so excited to suffer). I ran 20 miles with only a 4oz sip of water, no salt, no electrolytes, no food (ok, I had a cookie). This was fun. It was filled with laughter. I mean, HEY, at least we weren't post-holing (sinking) all morning right?

So, what does it mean if the more miserable, awful, and suffer-filled a run becomes, the more I get satisfaction from it? I love bad trails. Blisters don't bother me, a lack of sleep is normal, and post-holing...well, that's just funny.

Scott Jurek talks about taking pleasure from pain in his book Eat and Run. I like to complain about pain. I don't mind it, but I don't pleasure from it. But suffering... I think that's different.

I am far better suited for a run like Hardrock 100 (ridiculously steep and technical) than a race like Pony Express 100 (flat, non-technical). As for Barkley 100 (the other notorious difficult race), well... anyone who knows me knows that if I started on one Barkley loop search and rescue would be out looking for me the next day.

Perhaps the satisfaction is from pitting myself against everything that can go wrong, and asking the universe if that's all they have.

I've also been paying attention to my attitude. If I'm irritated I find the irritation source humorous, and I can use it as a fuel source (it's better than creamed honey) and run with it for hours. Most of the time, my attitude fluctuates between the Edder Vedder song "Rise" and Weezer's "Troublemaker."

The strengths (like finding pleasure and humor in a suffer-fest) and attitudes are tools to use when the running gets tough. Or, at least I hope they will be. I can't be serious while racing, it just tastes bad. If I am happy or content, well, I imagine it would be like when I was content to walk for nearly 8 miles during my first 50 mile race. I was perfectly happy and content to just keep walking. Had I allowed (or encouraged) myself to get angry or find humor in the pain, I probably could've run every step that I walked.

What little discoveries have you made about yourself in the wilderness?


  1. Discovery: When during a very long run (30 to 100 miles) I am suffering with any number of ailments, I tell myself, or announce to nobody in particular "I will never do this again!", it means that in fact, I will be doing it again the next year.



Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

a new year; a wasatch akitu

“Think now history has many cunning passages, contrived corridors, and issues, deceives with whispering ambitions, guides us by vanities. …The tiger springs in the new year. Us he devours.”
another new year startled us today. somewhere between the late night meandering into a warm bed, after the clock already struck a replayed chime marking the change of calendar (for, we can DVR the change of year and play it in every time zone,) and after the morning coffee, sunrise, prayers, or routines—the time has changed, and so have we.
the Wasatch is a flurry, the new recreational pursuits settling into it as the heavy snow settles onto it. it has been a dense year of both snow and increased use of the snow.
although this mountain range sits above a major metropolitan area, it retains pockets of wild refuge still hidden from its’ own mountain refugees. these pockets of frozen time are still filled with change. no man steps into the same Wasatch twice, for it is not the same Wasatch, nor is it the…

that WEIGHTY issue

It's been said to us climbers that what we do is dangerous, and irresponsible. How could we risk our lives like this? And distance trail running, if it compromises our health why do it? How dare we take that time away from our families? And yet, to even make mention about a different lifestyle, one of weight, obesity, and all of the very dangerous and risky components it involves is socially disgraceful, insensitive, and cruel. I bring this up only to show how much weight, in general, is not "ok" to talk about. It's a sensitive subject, even, no, especially, for those of us already at a healthy weight who use our bodies to their fullest daily...

Now, this blog is about running, ain't it? Yep. So while there's a lot of "weight" we could cover in this "weighty" area, we'll just go over one. Running.
Running and weight are intertwined. I'd like to say that this post is primarily for the ladies, because we typically store more weight t…

standhope 60k

it seems like the last few years I've aged, and I've grown. I lost my identity as a runner. if I didn't run frequently, if I wasn't in the mountains, if I wasn't pushing my own limits, what was I? 
I'd retained the identity as a mother, daughter, sibling, friend, student of literature and wilderness. this was a shift - less time, less comments, less messages with the running community that I didn't know well, a deepening of friendships and relationships with those closest to me.
it felt odd, going into standhope. I didn't have goals, I wasn't sure where I was at with running, I wasn't in shape for racing. I had this idealism, that if I raced hard, I could inspire others, not to run, but to pursue life with passion. but, what about when I can't race hard? when life is racing too hard for me to train?
earlier this year my Dad was diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma. visits to the hunstman increased, my mileage decreased. when looking at anoth…