I've been asked this question before... What is it that pushes me to get out every day and push my human limits? What kind of sick and twisted and fucked up thing makes a person run 40 miles on a badly broken foot? I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I don't struggle with motivation every once and awhile. For example, over the summer when I was training for Nolan's 14 I once woke up at 4am to run part of the course only to drive to the trailhead, take a nap in the back of my van, and not get started until 11am. Which subsequently meant I get stuck in a terrible thunderstorm as is common during CO summers. But all that aside I must say I do enjoy suffering. I genuinely enjoy a self induced dose of pain. I seek it out in its most natural forms, and then dwell in the pain cave with a smile. I think this is mostly because I experience much worse pain. Pain that is not physically induced. Pain which I cannot explain. Pain that is so painful my life stops. I stop. Pain which I have no control over. And when this pain rears it's ugly head in my life I am reminded of how pleasant that long run in the rockies was with that broken foot. But I can talk about this for hours so instead I'll post the wonderful and motivating skyrunner manifesto, which I know by heart and I hope will motivate you like it does me. Feels fitting as I prepare for another sufferfest adventure. This time in the desert with good company!
THE SKYRUNNER'S MANIFESTO
Kiss or kill. Besa o mata. Kiss glory or die in the attempt. Losing is death; winning is life. The fight is what decides the victory, the winner. How often have rage and pain made you cry? How often has exhaustion made you lose your memory, voice, common sense? And how often in this state have you exclaimed, with a broad smile on your face, "The final stage! Two more hours! Go, onward, upward! That pain only exists inside your head. Control it, destroy it, eliminate it, and keep on. Make your rivals suffer. Kill them" I am selfish right? Sport is selfish, because you must be selfish to know how to fight on while you suffer, to love solitude and hell. Stopping, coughing, feeling cold, not feeling your legs, feeling sick, vomitting, getting headaches, cuts, bleeding...can you think of anything better?
The secret isn't in your legs, but in your strength of mind. You need to go for a run when it is raining, windy, and snowing, when lightning sets trees on fire as you pass them, when snowflakes or hailstones strike your legs and body in the storm and make you weep, and in order to keep running, you have to wipe away the tears to see the stones, walls, or sky. The strength of mind to say no to hours of partying, to good grades, to a pretty girl, to the bedsheets against your face. To put your soul into it, going out into the rain until your legs bleed from cuts when you slip on the mud and fall to the ground, and then to get back on your feet and continue uphill until your legs cry out, "Enough!" and leave you marooned in a storm on the remotest peaks, until you die.
Leggings soaked by snow, driven on by the wind that sticks to your face and freezes your sweat. Feeling the pressure from your legs, the weight of your body bearing down on the metatarsals in your toes, pressure that can shatter rocks, destroy planets, and move continents. Legs suspended in the air, gliding like an eagle, or running faster than a cheetah. Running downhill, slipping on the snow and mude before driving yourself on anew, and suddenly you are free to fly, to shout out in the heart of the mountain, with only the most intrepid rodents and birds hidden in their nests beneath the rocks as your confessors. Only they know your secrets, your fears. Because losing is death. And you should not die before you have given your all, have wept from the pain and the wounds. And you cannot surrender. You must fight on to the death. Because glory is the greatest, and you can either aspire to glory or fall by the wayside. You cannot simply not fight, not suffer, not die...Now is the time to suffer, the time to fight, the time to win. Kiss or kill.