Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My 100 Miler Decision

My rented room in Sheffield England

When I was 24 I moved to Sheffield England. My plan was to attend Sheffield Hallam University Art School as part of an "exchange program" through my college. I use quotes here because this "exchange program" was loosely structured and not really sanctioned by the college itself, but instead informally organized through a mutual agreement between two professors in two different countries. The airfare was expensive and cost me around $800 roundtrip but lucky for me I had smartly invested a small amount of money in my very first mutual fund during my last year of high school and its dividends were just enough to get me overseas. Barely.

I had left a relationship back home which was starting to go sour. Very sour. Leaving the country was an ideal out for me and probably the best decision I have ever made in my life. But it was scary. I had never travelled solo before and although I had the support of one of the university professors to pick me up from the Manchester airport and give me a place to stay for a couple nights I was completely on my own.


Me. 20 years younger.
My agenda while I was there was to do and see things that I had only imagined in my dreams - visit historic castles, ancient stone circles, and world renowned art museums. And somehow get myself to France, Spain and the Greek Islands where I could tangibly experience the art history from my textbooks or any real history for that matter in person.

These minimal cash endeavors required creative traveling techniques: sleeping on beaches, in chicken infested campsites and on ferry life jacket boxes in lieu of even the cheapest of hotels. In order to afford the travel I remember eating little else but baguettes and cheese for ten days. I traveled by foot as much as possible suffering from huge blisters on my feet in Greece. My only possessions were a small school backpack and a sleeping bag. I washed my clothes in sinks, streams, and fountains. To say I was a minimal traveller would have been an understatement.

But to take the leap to travel on my own scared the shit out of me. I heard horror stories of single women travellers being attacked, raped or stranded. I knew at some point I would encounter uncomfortable situations and possible challenges and I had to be OK with that.

My friends from Sheffield outside The Grindleford Cafe
Despite this, my desire for adventure won. I had an opportunity to see and do things many of my peers would never be able to do. I had the opportunity to learn about my true independence and the depths of my capabilities. I had no idea I would learn so much about myself by getting lost, being hungry and feeling completely abandoned in a foreign place. I was never attacked. I was never raped. I did get stranded on the island of Paros when the atms and banks were shut down for a few days and there were no catamarans leaving the island. I didn't starve. I didn't die. I took a few extra days to see more of the island I would otherwise not have seen.

“ The jump is so frightening between where I am and where I want to be... because of all I may become I will close my eyes and leap!   
~ Mary Ann Radmacher

So it seems fear alone is never a good enough reason not to do something.

I write about this now because I'm in a place today where I stand challenged. Its a similar situation in which the adventure of life is luring me in. I have opportunities to learn about myself and the person I'm becoming. I'm learning that growth doesn't stop at twenty-five or thirty or even fourty. I'm still growing. Mentally. Spiritually. Emotionally.

In nature, it seems that everything is either in the process of growing or dying. As long as I am alive I will continue to grow. 

I will not use age as an excuse to give up on personal exploration and transformation. As human beings I believe the person we are today is different than our self of yesterday and we will be a new person tomorrow. 

We can choose to explore our potential or ignore it.

So where am I going with all this?

I've made a decision about my 100 miler. Its neither going to be the Rio Del Lago or the Cool Moon. I've decided to run the most epic of epic races for me. The Pine to Palm 100 Mile Endurance Run. A remote and rugged point to point course traversing the Siskiyou Mountains Range in Southern Oregon taking place sometime in September 2013.

I decided I didn't want to run my first 100 in my own backyard. I need a race that will challenge me, inspire me, move me, and leave me with no questions of what I'm capable of. I have a feeling I will have no doubt what my potential is after a race like this. This will be the hardest race I've ever signed up for. Climbing three peaks and rated only slightly harder than The Western States and Tahoe Rim 100 by RealEndurance.com this race will be my benchmark. I will either not make the cutoff, die trying, or finish. I've ran some hilly courses in my life, but nothing like this. This will be my most challenging of races by far. 

BY. FAR. 

In a way I'm kind of done with being afraid. I need something big to test myself with and this could be it. That is, unless I finish this with more questions and decide I've just gotta try Badwater. Oh yeah. Right. Somehow, I don't think that's gonna happen.

So I'm waiting patiently for registration to open for the upcoming year. I'm still wrapping my head around this one, but I'm not afraid anymore and I'm ready to try.


PINE TO PALM 100 MILE ENDURANCE RUN

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5 comments:

  1. I'm impressed. All I have heard about is how difficult this race is. Good Luck!

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  2. Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! What a great hundred to choose! Love your spirit!

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  3. It should be easy...all you have to do is run for 100 miles??...I mean, COME ON.....Good luck...and by that I mean break a leg...and by that I mean, I hope all your joints stay healthy...and by that I mean, you should smoke more joints...and by that I mean, you should run 101 miles just to spite everyone at the race...I love doing something stupid and crazy and then one-upping all the competition just for spite....ahhhhh, spite...good times, good times...

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  4. Excellent choice! I've been eying this one myself as I try to figure out what the hell I'm going to do in 2013. Who knows, maybe I will see you there!

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