Monday, September 19, 2011

Philosophies from the Tetons (Part 2)

1) There's a difference between being fit and being healthy - I've met a number of fit people that aren't exactly healthy. They are slaves to whatever drives them to push their bodies to extremes. There is nothing wrong with pushing yourself, but there is a line. Ultrarunners edge very close to crossing that line at times. Running 100 miles is not a healthy endeavor. Being healthy means looking after your mind and spirit as much as your body. It also means maintaining healthy, loving relationships with those around you.

2) Fear is your friend - When you're out for a run or hike in bear country, you quickly gain a sense of humility. You instinctively know that you are not top of the food chain out there. A grizzly bear could be - probably is - lurking somewhere not too far away. The fear that builds in the back of your mind is a healthy and quite sane response! Fear entails respect which entails humility and caution.

3) Suffering is weakness - It shows weakness of mind. It shows that you choose to spend your time in a self-made hell rather than a blissful heaven. It shows lack of skill. If you are suffering in a race, you are doing something wrong. I know ultrarunners like to brag about their suffering because they think it makes them look tougher or more of a badass. Dean Karnazes says, "I love the pain." I know a guy who likes to show off the fact that he "shredded his tendons" (his words) during a 100 mile race and had to wear compression boots for a time after. This is nothing to boast about. Suffering is not a sign of strength. He either did not train properly or had a very poor race plan. Probably both. Ultramarathons offer you the unique opportunity to create a relationship with your body. Why choose to spend your time in misery?

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