Recently I ran a trail marathon. 26.2 miles through the desert on winding single track, in the wind, while gaining a total of 2200 foot in elevation. It was awesome. Truth be told, I did have pretty significant soreness in that weird area right behind my knee where there doesn’t feel like anything actually exists except pain. Following the race, my wife immediately posted pictures on social media celebrating my accomplishment. What I accomplished was 26.2 miles in 5 hours and 33 minutes and a 17th place finish out of 34 participants. My god, I am the true definition of average. Before I even left the finish line all my “friends”, were giving me digital thumbs up, shocked face emoji’s or a few actual words of congratulations. One friend simply stated, “how is this fun, your nuts?”. He makes a fair point, I’m not sure fun is the right word. I don’t think Alex Honnold would describe free climbing Half Dome as a hoot. I’m positive Courtney Dauwalter wasn’t giggling and laughing the entire time she was running and winning the Moab 240. Satisfying is probably a better word. Fun is fun until it’s not, satisfaction will last a lifetime.
As for his description of being nuts, maybe he has a point. On subsequent runs I have stepped on a snake, survived severe dehydration, broke a toe, and I was stabbed by a homicidal cactus. So maybe doing what I do is nuts, but where else am I able to spend the day enjoying nature, commiserating with fellow adventurers, while finding time to get re-acquainted with the music playlist on my phone. There is almost nothing more satisfying or less crazy than cruising into the wild, with Jorge Quintero’s 300 Violin Orchestra lifting your soul, or ripping down a hill with Rob Zombie reminding you that you are truly “more human than a human”. How can spending a day with the blisters on your feet, sweat in your eye, dirt in your ear, pain in your quads, and The Darkness reminding you to “believe in a thing called love” be crazy? It can’t be, can it? Is it nuts to do something just to see if it can be done? Is it nuts to push the limits of your own capabilities to the point of possibly causing yourself harm? To these questions I answer, yes. It is absolutely insane to do these things to yourself. It is insane to climb a sheer wall with no safety harnesses, or to run 238 miles in the middle of the desert. These are not the acts of normal people. Having said that, when was the last time you were inspired by a “normal” person? Name the last book you read about a person who lived their lives doing things that were safe and “normal”. If that book exists, I bet it sucks. What some people call nuts, others simply call living. To quote Andy Dufresne from the Shawshank Redemption, “I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying”.