Tonight, I am going to a park in Kansas where I hope to run 50k. I don't know if I will run 50k. That depends.
I am about to enter a long dark cold night. I am about to go against the grain of my comfort zone. I am about to be antithetical to ordinary society's penchant for sloth and gluttony.
Friday night: most of society will be having large dinners, maybe a few alcoholic beverages, maybe watching TV, maybe dealing with the kids, maybe snuggling in a warm bed. Most of society will be immersed in comfort and complacency; slowly dieing in their living rooms mesmerized by TV.
I don't like being cold. I don't like missing sleep. I don't like being shaken out of my routine. This is a fat ass race. That means there is no schwag, no results, no awards, no winners. The ego gets nothing. Basically, ultra-running is about stripping the ego of its control and identity so that you can find out who you are really.
In the night, there is a spot of light from my headlamp, a bit of trail, my water bottle and some gel. I am swathed in fleece and gortex; filled with whatever warmth I can generate from my own existence. I become a bubble of life in a cold dark void. As such, I am reduced to mind, to elemental being-ness; thoughts and feelings and the urge to live. It is a void ripe for negative ego attack. The ego always asks why. It is a journey through darkness to light. It is a practice of endurance, commitment and hope. The spirit never doubts. If I become what I am, Life, then the hope is fulfilled.
There are no illusions in the darkness. It is a nebulous world, an existence of raw oneness. It is either peace or fear, love or hate. I'm going to be 52 in a few days. I've decided that this is not the year when I will lay down and die.
I get to choose. Choose Life.