Training update, and some out-loud thoughts about humility and the importance of being humble

The transformation has begun.

My legs are trashed, I’m tired, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around the distance I will run in a few weeks…BUT I’m also getting stronger, faster, and more confident in my own abilities. Training is one evolution after another, constant destruction and rebuilding back up stronger to achieve a better version of what existed prior. This is a process that is not only physical, but mental, emotional, and even philosophical/spiritual to a degree. A grueling path paves the way for a moment, that special moment…. 

Chuck Palahniuk once said of perfection: “A person had to work hard for it, but a minute of perfection was worth the effort. A moment was the most you could ever expect from perfection.” 

While I’m certainly far from perfect, the point I’m trying to make is that while everyone has their own way to get there, as athletes we’re all ultimately searching for our own little “moment” to be the best we can be and overcome what is seemingly impossible. That said, I’m doing everything I can to show up to Utah the best and most fine-tuned version of myself I can be. T-minus 38 days and counting…..

Aside from the physical rigors of training, I’ve had the pleasure of making several amazing new friends this year who continue to inspire me and embrace each other’s “good crazy” eccentricities, as well as the love we all have for pushing ourselves through the sport of running. It’s wonderful to network with other athletes and develop new opportunities. In addition, it’s always nice to gain new perspective and formulate new opinions as the sport continues to grow and expand. 

Perhaps one of the most important things I’m taking into this years journey is a renewed awareness of humility as it relates to how I conduct myself on and off the trail. I have a more thorough understanding of what I believe to be innate aspects of trail running like minimalism, respect for the environment, and modesty when it comes to my attitude and accomplishments. While I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve had thus far, they have afforded me to see things I like and don’t like about the sport. If one thing is for certain, it’s that everyone can benefit from toning down their ego from time to time. To elaborate even further, I’m starting to identify less with the term “ultra.” Yes, I run distances beyond 26.2, but when I refer to myself as an “ultrarunner” I am essentially saying that I am something beyond a runner. The fact of the matter is I’m just a runner. “Ultrarunning” implies doing something beyond running. Not sure what that would be…flying or levitating perhaps? Just my take on it. 

In conclusion I’m happy to be starting a new chapter and excited for what lies ahead. I’ve got a few more tough weeks ahead followed by a smooth taper into the race. This will be my first time to visit Moab and I hear it’s gorgeous so I couldn’t be more excited. That area of Utah typically has pretty mild weather in the late spring time, so I’m hoping for ideal weather conditions come race day. Before I forget, I’m gonna be trying out and reviewing some new footwear in the coming weeks so make sure to check back for that. 

May your trails be happy and healthy,

 

Adam

 

My road to trail, ultra, and mountain running

“This has got to be the stupidest thing I have ever done, once this is over I am done with running.”

Among many other expletives that peppered my thoughts that day, that particular thought was the one that pulsed through me during the later miles of my first ultra in fall of 2012. I felt physically and emotionally defeated, and even began rehearsing in my head what I had planned to say to do damage control on what my friends and family who were waiting on me to finish may think if I quit. After a mental high rope balancing act, teetering between decisions, I decided to continue and eventually did finish, purple toenails and all. It was only at this point that I knew the power of the human spirit, and that a person’s will, determination, and heart can drive them to do amazing things.

More than a year has passed since I fell in love with running, yet it still manages to teach me something new every time I do it, like some sort of eternal spiritual guru or guide. It remains my instructor and I its student whose bond is always evolving and changing, yet at the core is strong and pure.

In retrospect, I didn’t gravitate towards running the way I had previously with other sports. There was no grand spectacle or production to be seen, no arena filled with fancy strobe lights, loud sounds, and screaming fans. I had been an athlete all my life, but suddenly sports I had participated in no longer held interest for me. I didn’t want the crowds, nor the spectacle. I didn’t want trendy or watered down. Many of the same issues were also present in my every day and personal life. I, like so many other people, had gotten sucked into the frenzy of social media, news-feeds, and the seemingly endless void of mindless consumer culture. All this hip, snobby superficiality coming at me from every direction telling me I wasn’t cool if I didn’t buy the latest I pod, update my status every 5 minutes, or didn’t know who each celebrity was having relations with. I didn’t buy into it anymore. I needed something different. I needed simple. In fact, it was everything that running WASN’T that made me love it. There was no gimmick; just put one foot in front of the other. Just move. It was that simple. You could go as long or as fast as you wanted, it didn’t matter. It was amazing, and I think it’s the very fact that running is so simple and back-to-the-basics that makes my connection with it so special. I now believe with all my heart that this notion that humans need to be “connected” and “plugged-in” to each other’s lives through endless avenues of communication is nonsense. In fact, I think it’s the very things that promise to make us closer that are actually driving us farther apart. I promise you, the freedom of thought and internal dialogue you’ll have with yourself while running is so much more valuable than frantically refreshing the page on a computer or smartphone to see what “the latest” is.

Personally, this journey with running has been one of the most significant ones of my life, and better late than never to have discovered something that was in front of me the whole time.

Remember, it’s simple: one foot in front of the other. (Even I can’t screw that up)