Monday, November 9, 2009

The Psychology of 100 Miles

British runners call distance running "having a go at it." They have a wonderful spirit about them. I always considered ultramarathoning a disease and the British had it with fever to spare.

- Ted Corbitt
What's wrong with me? My toes are still numb from Cactus Rose yet today I found myself pondering what 100 miler I could "have a go at" next. Was it really just over a week ago I smugly declared that I'd scratched that 100 miles itch? Well it appears to be itching again.

The same thing happened after Rocky Raccoon. But why?

I don't claim to know the answer, but I do have a couple of really good clues.

A few weeks ago I took a facilitation class, and part of it touched on the subject of creativity. One of the speakers said that a key prerequisite was the ability to "step from the light into the darkness". He then made an analogy to rock climbing - "you can't reach the summit if you keep one foot on the ground".

Well that struck a chord with me so I carried the idea forward to ultra running. Since we all spend so much of our lives within our comfort zone, sometimes it's good to reach outside of that and discover what we're really made of. How well can you keep it together when you're tired and hurting, and there's still many miles to go? Do you have the will to keep going when you're alone on the trail and may not see another soul for hours? Are you brave enough to peel away your layers just to see what lies beneath?

If you don't try you'll never know.

But if you do, you may just find you keep coming back.


S. Baboo said...

And it doesn't help that there are so many good 100's out there. My list has become frustratingly long.

Steph said...

Love this post. Very true insight.

K said...

Great post! See you at Texas Trails 50K!