Saturday, February 12, 2011

What's Next?

It's been a week now since the SanTan Scramble 50K and I'm feeling pretty good. I basically took the week off from running - the combination of work stuff and post-race recovery made it a pretty easy decision to just relax, get a massage and recover. I've been feeling pretty good this week - clearly my IT band and knees took more of a beating this time around but I've been stretching and icing every night.

I set out yesterday for a 5-mile run only to discover that i was pretty tired still. Even after a week of semi-sleeping in (up at 5 am is considered sleeping in for me), my body has not forgiven me for the punishment I put it through last weekend. I bagged it at three and a half miles.

Over the week however, I got a chance to read Dean Karnaze's book, "Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an all-night runner". It was a recommended read from my buddy and it truly did not disappoint.

Dean recounts how running and the outdoor lifestyle became a fixture in his life while incorporating his family and loss of a sibling into the story. It draws you into the more 'human' side of his tales and adventures while making you believe that this is some larger purpose for his running and seemingly crazy attempts at the 'inhuman' distances he runs.

The great thing is that you don't have to be a runner to appreciate his seemingly tall tales of adventure. They are filled with colorful and exciting drama that can make anyone appreciate the challenges, issues and mental barriers one faces while attempting any sort of obstacle.

If you are a runner, the pure introspective nature of Dean's journey tries to answer the questions that many of us face from our neighbors and friends...Why do you run? Why would you want to run a 50K? Are you crazy? The revelation he makes is that there is no single answer to this - it is a combination of fun, fitness and challenging ones self to do more.

"There is magic in misery" he says. I'm sure there is some truth to that.

In general, this book spoke to me. Throughout my journey, I've never been satisfied with just the accomplishments...there is always something more I'm compelled to do. Something bigger. Something longer. Something tougher. I'm enamored with the idea of pushing myself harder and harder to know what I can or cannot do.

I spent most of this week researching events to see what my next ultra-distance will be. There is a short-list but it involves several races that are 50 km and even 50 miles. I can honestly say that I never imagined I'd be able to call myself an utramarathoner myself...but now that I can, I definitely want to do more.

I can only imagine what's next on my journey.

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