This year has not been my year. I am old. Old in spirit. Old physically. Well not really. 47, is that old? I don’t know.I honestly don’t. I like to run. I love the feeling of being in the woods. Completely disconnected from technology. Cell phones, be damned to the deepest depths of hell fire. This year like the previous involved finding some family member to watch the kid and getting up nice and early. A tall cup of coffee and a little bit of food to help soothe the acidic effects of coffee on an empty stomach and the pre-race jitters. Thank you meditation. The anxiety has dissipated. Now the difficult decisions. Do I wear spandex or just suck it up and wear shorts. I opted to freeze and wore shorts.
When Kim and I parked the FJ the temperature stated that it was 17 degrees. Well that kind of sucked because I have such a bad case of raynaud’s that the cold just kind of sets the tone really early on. As in a big ole cup of suck. Attitudes aside we went to the starting line and waited for the start. Kim and I stood there freezing, and then it happened. The soul crushing moment when you realize your jam has been scratched by some tweaker wanting to hear his winged honda making the wee wee soup can muffler sound. I looked at Kim and said I don’t have my watch. She looked empty. The literal holy shit, he is going to have a fucking meltdown look. I left my watch. Now I am going to have no proof that I ran 15 miles with a few 1000 feet of elevation in 17 degrees. No one is going to believe me. No one is going to believe that I am a fool running in the woods at such temperatures. That is what is it all came down to. Internally at least.
Once I realized that the watch and its metrics did not validate me, I realized that the freedom of being absent of technology was the whole point of being ultra. Of being a soul running in the woods like my ancestors. The struggle without checkpoints makes the bitter so much more bitter and the sweet that much sweeter. I didn’t know this. I am a technologist perpetuating this fallacy that has become the definition of what it means to be human. Our lives spent in front of a screen seeking validation. I claim to be a data junky, This is why I need to track how far I have run, how high my heart rate got, how many calories I burned. For what? To prove nothing more than I am better off than the pig that sits on his/her couch watching a sport that he/she could never play? What’s the point? I realized none of this until I was on the trail with nothing more than a water bottle, which dare I say may have clouded my new found zen of being absolutely free. I get it now.
Being free of these distractions. There is no need to measure oneself.
There is no permanence.