Thursday, January 07, 2016

Believe in Magic...

I identify as agnostic. But, I absolutely believe there are beings out there that are much bigger and more powerful than we can possibly imagine. I think we’re probably ants or microbes to them.

We barely show up on their radar. I don’t think our silent pleas to the universe are heard by them in any substantive way. They’ve got much bigger fish to making black holes, altering the space/time continuum, or giving birth to stars.

BUT...I do think these beings take a day off, enjoy screwing around, or just get bored. On these all too infrequent moments, I suspect these beings fuck around with the weird microbes on the blue and green rock...just for shits and giggles.

The result of this are those bizarre, surreal, and completely implausible moments that you will always remember in vivid detail. These are the experiences that tattoo your cerebral cortex. Those seconds where time froze.

There’s no logical explanation. There’s no scientific explanation. This is what I call magic.

The list of reasons why I run can encompass more than a single book. It’s a staggering list that not even I fully understand. I run to maintain my sanity. I run to slow the aging process. I run to quiet my mind. 

But, there’s ONE reason that stands head and shoulders above all the rest. It’s because RUNNING IS MAGIC.

Yes, running can be drudgery. It can be awful. There are days when it is nothing but an exercise in futility.

But, there are few activities that provide a catalyst for magic quite like running. I’ve had moments that I can barely explain to anyone.

I’ve seen incredible things I never would have seen had I not run. I’ve inexplicably endured things that defy reason because of running.

I’ve had moments where I have clearly been blessed (or cursed) by beings much larger and greater than me for reasons I can never fully grasp.

RUNNING IS MAGIC. Read on for one such illustrative moment.

An Open Invitation to Calamity…

I thought I was passionate about running. I thought I lived and breathed running. I thought I was devout.

Then I spent some time rubbing elbows with a few ultrarunners. I felt like a poser in the presence of these remarkable creatures who ran distances that most humans don’t drive in a week.

I already indulged in selfless self-flagellation regularly; 70 miles a week of it. But, the ultra world was a whole different kind of pain that was completely foreign to me. 

I was intrigued. Curiosity caught hold. Maybe I was suited to this kind of thing and just didn't  know it.  

I spent some time running with these fascinating ultra runners, but I wasn’t one of them. I’d never ventured beyond 26.2. I was a hack. I was a pretender.

But, logging a few miles with them planted the seed. You spend enough time with the infected and it's almost inevitable that you become infected yourself. Could I swing more than 26.2 miles?

The seed germinated when I had the great (mis)fortune to see JB Benna’s incredible documentary ‘Unbreakable’. I should restate that.

I saw the world premier of a phenomenal, inspiring documentary with most of the stars of the film in attendance, 300+ passionate trail runners in attendance, right next the Marin Headlands, on the eve of the North Face Endurance Challenge Championship. This night alone was MAGIC.

While I had been a bit skeptical about the whole ‘ultra’ scene, skepticism became inspiration after feeling a bit of the magic that seems to accompany this scene. There’s also more than a little bit of crazy going on in the ultra scene.

But, crazy was not uncharted territory for me. So, I went with it. I embraced the crazy (a bit more than usual).

I pulled the trigger on a 50K and a 50 miler. I had no idea what I was doing. So, I did what most fools do, I tried to figure it out on my own.

To be continued….

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