December 31, 2018

AMORE Runners!

saddleback horizon

2018 Started out with such promise! But as the days and weeks and months wore on, I simply wore out. I think my ambition got the better of me. It’s not that I didn’t embrace the idea of running several big audacious ultra’s - Hard Rock, Bighorn and Rocky Raccoon to name a few - because I loved the idea of it. It’s just that, well, the idea is all I could muster. It was when the idea needed to transition into reality that I kind of hesitated, stumbled. The old “I’ll start my training next week” syndrome started rearing its head. This lead to “I’ll skip this race and focus on that one” which pretty much is an apathy spiral which, I believe, plagues even the most ardent runners (admit it folks).

But so what? So I took the year off from formal “racing” and kind of chilled out. No big deal. Instead, I had some great hikes up Mt. Whitney and San Gorgonio. I did some camping, some philosophising, and even some tree analysis, among other things. All in all a good year!

Looking back I’m pretty sure I forgot the basic rule of running which contributed to the spiral. I’ll describe that rule here as AMORE!, which is Italian for love. If you are thinking I’m using AMORE in the context of love running, or the love of running, you’re on the right track. But there is more here than meets the eye. To me AMORE means more than love. It is an acronym about running that always proves to be true. The rule is it’s better to slow down and go easy on yourself. Not push the pace all the time. Because when you do this, you: 

A - Avoid burnout, stay fresh

M - Minimize injury, stay healthy

O - Observe your surroundings, get outside of your head 

R - Run longer, wear down your prey 

E - Enjoy the darn sport!!

Keep if real runners!

December 17, 2018

The Calm and the Quiet

Her Buddha  (1 of 1).jpg

Equanimity, defined as an evenness of mind, especially under stress. A few years ago I wrote about it. I’d been struck by the sight of two “monkish” people sitting, ever-so-calmly, in the middle of New York City’s Central park, meditating. They appeared like living statues in quiet   defiance, keepers of calm in a chaotic world swirling around them. I felt a tug of attraction to their solitude.

A few halfhearted attempts to seek equanimity through meditation followed. Then there was the clobbering. The realization that developing a ritual of this sort isn’t going to just happen from my on-again-off-again curiosity. Some meditation books and a few teachings followed. But that is where it stopped.

This is a running blog. Which is why I’m writing about meditation. Because, from my perspective, the two are intertwined. Running is meditation. Just not the sitting part. Awaken. 

More to come on this topic in the new year…

December 3, 2018

The Mountains Are Calling

Mt. San Gorgonio 11,503

Looks like it will be something new for me in 2019. After throwing my proverbial hat in the Hard Rock 100 keep-the-newbies-out lottery system, I’m setting my sights on something different - 200 miles on the Tahoe Rim Trial.  

The absurdity of this aside, I’m actually looking forward to the extra miles for several reasons. First, it’s something I’ve never attempted let alone completed before, which keeps me on my toes more than logging yet another 100 miler. Second, I’m anxious to reevaluate my training approach by logging lots of exploratory miles in the mountains with some overnight thru-running. It’s kind of strange, but recently I’ve been intrigued by the idea of trekking overnight distances that require real gear to shelter from the elements. I guess it’s time I put this intrigue into practice. Third, after taking a year off from ultra events, I’m coming around to the realization that it’s really not the event that matters in the end, its the experiences we encounter along the way to get there. Experiences that, well, kind of keep things real in the surreal world we live in today. 

To borrow a phrase from a fellow blogger/adventurer…the mountains are calling.