Saturday, August 20, 2022

Marquette Trail 50 (2022)

Finishing an ultra always comes with an immense sense of satisfaction.  Hitting a finish line after many miles and hours out in God’s good creation on beautiful trails is an emotional experience.  The sense of accomplishment is real and it just feels good.  That sense is even greater when you return to a race that beat you up and dealt you failure in your previous attempt.  My 2021 attempt at the Marquette Trail 50 was my first DNF and I’ve wrestled with it ever since.  It wasn’t that this was a crushing blow to my ego or a defeat that tasted so bitter.  I’m not really that kind of runner or person. I’m in this for the enjoyment, for the growth, for the learning and that DNF left me with so many questions.  And yes, it did leave me with a desire to go back and finish what I started. That’s what brought me back, unfinished business.

In the end, I’ve reached a sense of contentment in saying my 2021 DNF at Marquette was due to a combination of three factors: (1) the hot weather of the day, (2) my quads being in an unusual pain due to the training effects of a medicine I was on, and (3) factors 1 & 2 exacerbating my concern of completely wrecking my legs before a trip with my brother to Isle Royale in the days following the race.  I can live with my choices from that day and I accept what happened.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Uncomfortable in the Race of Life

[Originally published in the Monroe News on August 19, 2022]

One of the favorite shows my wife and I share when we’re looking for a few simple laughs is The Big Bang Theory.  My wife would likely say the geeky social-awkwardness displayed by all the main guys in the show is probably the man she’s known and loved since college.  The primary character on the show, Sheldon, is the most awkward of them all.  He may also be the brightest.  A simple dialogue between him and another character Rajesh came to my mind recently as I was finishing up thoughts for a sermon at my congregation at Grace.

Rajesh: Come on, Sheldon. The world is filled with people doing things outside; let’s go outside. Outside is good.
Sheldon: If outside is so good, why has mankind spent thousands of years trying to perfect inside?

It’s definitely a line good for a chuckle.  I happen to resonate most with Rajesh here.  I do believe outside is good.  I do love the beauty and wonder of nature and even the fact that outside does sometimes get uncomfortable and challenging.  While Sheldon makes an interesting point with all the comforts we’ve developed over time to guide our inside lives (I’m pretty sure no one complains about the invention of indoor plumbing) it isn’t a complete replacement for the need to get uncomfortable and get outside.

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