In the same vein of being “vulnerable“, here are more life musings!

Here I sit two years after hitting the “register” button for the Silver Rush 50 miler and I feel the itch again. More stable job? Great opportunity to sit and coast? Time to indulge in the first-world luxury of self-inflicted pain!!

I don’t pine for PRs (personal record, for those that don’t care about running) because I have no illusions of being a fast runner and don’t want to be reminded of my mid-pack runner status. So shaving a few minutes from my marathon time is not within my motivation sphere, but for whatever reason lengthening the distance I can run IS. Ulg, just writing it out makes me realize how dumb running is. THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT DIE BECAUSE THEY DON’T HAVE ENOUGH FOOD. Whew! I’ve temporarily alleviated some guilt and can re-focus on my made-up challenges.

In February I started running more consistently and realized I like it again. It probably helps that Colorado has had a summer-like late winter + early spring. So it’s been a joyful experience in bird-listening and blue sky-basking and flower-smelling. And I’m really enjoying Hoopla. It sounds like some hip new trend (said by a 30 year old…) but it’s just the public library’s AMAZING audiobook selection. Please be my friend?

Anyways, my progression has been a 10k, a half-marathon, a marathon, and a 50 mile ultramarathon…so next up is a 100k? That sounds way longer than it is – 66 miles. Really what I want is to “run” a 100 miler (in practice, it would be hobbling deteriorating to body-dragging through the rocky dirt). But my dread of working night shift also extends to moving my body over 100 miles through the night as well. So that’s still a little while off?

I don’t know why this is a life goal. It seems like my efforts would be better spent elsewhere. But this is how the little drum in my heart beats. That and traveling as much as possible. I was groomed in childhood to accomplish more professionally (wow that sounds fucking obnoxious, but I’ll leave it rest there), yet all I can focus my brain on is compulsively running, chocolate, reading, tea, the outdoors, and flying to countries where the language is different and the sights and smells are exotic and unfamiliar.

Below is a little trip back on memory lane. Mostly because I was looking back through old pictures recently and wanted to insert them somewhere on my corner of the internet:

Belize
Rope swinging in Belize, circa 2006.
Chile
Chile in spring 2007. Hiking a volcano; one of many plazas in Santiago; and backpacking Patagonia x2.
Patagonia Chile
Very under-prepared to backpack the W in Patagonia, but SO FUN.
Honduras
Summer 2007 in Honduras. Driving to our volunteer site; helping to build a community center; bucket cold shower; enjoying the sights.
Mexico
Mexico, 2009.
Switzerland
Switzerland (2011): where my life felt like a dream, paragliding in front of Eiger.
Paris
Teehee, holding up the Eiffel Tower. June 2011.
Costa Rica
Zip lining in Costa Rica, 2012.
Backpacking to Machu Picchu in 2015.

In that introspective realm [and I realize this is a side effect of having all of my physical needs met]: just because you can do more, should you? As in, if I can do more within my career, should I? I like my job, and feel life satisfaction in helping people. Should I coast, or keep striving and reaching for whatever arbitrary goal I can recalibrate my hamster wheel towards? All of this just boils down to me trying to address self-actualization – the pinnacle of Maslow’s hierarchy. And then not really being able to…and then using running as a distraction.

Anywho…100k. By now I’ve forgotten the pain of the 50 miler, and only remember the glory that comes with the make believe achievements that middle America is good at producing. Other things in this grouping include tough mudders, paleo diets, and minimalism. My fears for doing these long trail races include those you’d expect: electrolyte imbalance-induced seizures, lightening, heart attack, mountain lions, and overwhelming nausea. I work with patients that have traumatic brain injuries so whenever I have a random twinge in my brain or am feeling off I think it’s a seizure aura. I’m sure that will help with my performance for miles 30-60. I’m trying to bring some levity to this post, while also letting you know that I am a hypochondriac. Either I went into the medical field because I wanted to know all the horrific things that can happen to my body, or I am a hypochondriac because now I know the horrific things that can happen to my body. I think it’s both.

My goal race is in July, and the training plan I am roughly following is here. Except I want to add in a day a week of weight training because I am definitely a professional runner and know better than the people at Dirty 30. But really I just think I run more easily (read: less leg burning and breath-gasping) with a little weight training and PLUS, f the man and stuff.

Ultramarathon training
A cold and rainy long run on March’s last day. And a needless picture of my legs.

The summary of this ramble is that by posting my intention and training updates to the +/- 1 reader out there, I may follow through! The motivation to avoid imaginary shame from imaginary people is so strong! So thanks bottomless pit that is the internet.

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3 Comments

  1. Caroline Helbig Reply

    100k…100m, it all sounds gruelling. I love this post. Your ramblings are fun; they made me laugh. While I don’t share your passion for long distance running, I do enjoy a great trail run and I’m with you on chocolate, tea, outdoors, travel (and I’m a fellow hypochondriac). I’ll be looking forward to your post about the 100k! Have you heard about the Barkley Marathons…crazy race that’s happening as I write this. Great photos too!

    • ashleyoutside Reply

      Thanks Caroline 🙂 Those things are central to our well-being! And part of me thinks that being a hypochondriac serves as a positive constant reminder to how short life is. The whole chase-your-dreams-and-don’t-settle thing. So it’s not always a crippling idiosyncrasy!

      I previously heard of the Barkley Marathon as one of the hardest ultramarathons…and just now reading more about it – wow. 59,100 feet of climb, approaching double of Hardrock’s gain…and since the race began in 1986, only 14 runners out of about 1000 have finished within the 60 hour cutoff. I like how the race officially starts when the race creator/director lights his cigarette.

  2. I love the photos of your past trips. Our physical ability is a scarce resource, so enjoy pushing it while you can and has the means to do.

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