Look backwards for a second.
Have you ever had one INCREDIBLE moment in your past that took you for a loop? Perhaps sent you on a double flip, only to be knocked out? The best bit — you awakened with a huge sigh of relief and a smile brimming from ear to ear? Knowing you just experienced something you felt deep in your gut you knew would change your life forever?
A Once In A Lifetime Experience With Karnazes
You know, I have heard about people claiming these experiences, and several times in my life HOPED that I too could get kicked in the butt good. But at the age of 43, and not having any kind of experience that affected me THAT way, I began to question if THAT FEELING was real.
Never say never — my HALLOW day:
Halloween Day, 2010
I’m in the heart of SILICON VALLEY, San Jose California. It’s October 31st, 2010. It’s mile 6.
It’s going to be different this time. I can feel it. I’m feeling light, I’m feeling good, I’m one quarter of the way through another marathon.
Some guy wearing an ancient Greek leather skirt and a sword in sheath hanging off his waist, just passes me. A group of runners surround him.
Hey! That’s the guy from package pickup at the Hyatt, the day before — Dean Karnazes. All I know is he’s THE NAME associated to this marathon.
The groupies, the clothes, I just roll my eyes thinking — this IS California, and I keep on running.
18 miles completed. 8.2 miles to go, about another hour and a half. I turn the corner and bam IT hits me in the face. What every marathoner dreads — THE WALL.
A gentle slope creeps into view. Oh gawd. If I run up that thing, I’ll have no energy left. A participant alongside me, gingerly takes steps forward. I can hear her counting sets of 100. I’m numb from the pain setting in. I don’t know it, but I am hunched over, no longer able to move forward, while keeping a straight back.
With tunnel vision, I stare straight ahead. I can hear my husband screaming – YOU CAN DO IT! ALMOST THERE! YOU’RE LOOKING GOOD! But I can see his face and it says it all. He thinks I’m going to drop right there.
26.2 miles in 4 hours — gotta DO IT. Can’t stop. Can’t walk. Gotta run. The heat beats down, gotta run. Gotta run. 1, 2, 3… 55, 56, 57…
They’re yelling, turn the corner, you’re THERE.
The corner! I’m fixated on THAT corner.
I turn the corner. I see a big park, where’s THE (****) FINISH? ( **** my mind keeps throwing expletives)
They’re yelling, you’re almost there.
I can’t think anymore. THEN I see it.
Most people are gone, but I am only steps from the chute to the finish line.
My legs begin to move like spokes on a wheel, faster and faster with every inch forward. I feel like I’m floating. I don’t know where the energy is coming from. I hear screaming. I am the only one going down the chute. I hear my name over the loud speaker.
DORIS BLANCHET FROM VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA. LOOK AT HER GO!
CLAPPING, YELLING… I LOOK AT THE CLOCK – GAWD
4rth marathon — 5:20, again!?
I am bombarded with my own thoughts. The same pattern, yet again. You should have started training 6 months ago, not 2. TRAIN. T-R-A-I-N. You think running once a week is marathon training? You’ve got Jeff Galloway’s training schedule (from 1991!?) why can’t you just follow it?!
My husband runs towards me and wraps me in his arms. All I can think of is the NEXT ONE. The next one is in the bag, I can feel it.
The very next day, I find myself in a little old running store in Napa Valley.
Bam — it hits me in the face, yet again. This time I get the lowdown.
THAT was THE DEAN KARNAZES, a running store clerk extols. He’s got 2 books out. Go find his first book and BUY IT.
Mr Dean is not just a marathon runner, he is an ultra marathon runner.
Mr Dean is not just an ultra-marathon runner,
Mr Dean is into running 300 miles non-stop (that’s 11 marathons, through multiple nights, no sleep).
Mr Dean is into running 100 miles in Death Valley — that’s when soles of running shoes bubble over as temperatures soar to over 120 Fahrenheit.
Mr Dean is not just AMAZING, MR DEAN started from absolutely nothing! Look at HIM — at 48!
…and look at ME?!
Enroute home I hit the first bookstore I come across. It’s the Elliot Bay bookstore in Seattle. Both Dean’s books are in stock. I buy his first book and I gotta buy his second book too — he’s a New York Times bestselling author.
My husband drives. I sit in the passenger seat — first book in hand and begin reading aloud. Page after page I flip, totally oblivious to the fact that reading in the car makes me car sick.
Page 224 and bam, it hits me in the face. No, I’m not car sick.
Once again, it’s mile 18 (this time in Dean’s book). This time it’s the Marine Corps Marathon in Virginia and it’s October 2006. This time, it’s Mr. Karnazes that is turning the corner and he gets it: THE AWAKENING.
Dean finds the awakening, at a point in the marathon when most people hit the wall:
A statue consisting of five separate pieces buried in the ground emerges into view. The left hand and right foot barely protrude, the bent left leg and knee jut into the air, a colossal right arm and hand reach skyward while the bearded face, mouth wide open and howling in apparent agony, thrashes violently to exhume the creature from the entombing soil.
This giant seems at war with his greatest adversary, himself.
He appears to be struggling with the decision to follow what is in his heart, to buck convention and pursue an alternative course, a road less traveled.
The grimace on his face comes from knowing that his past may have been a numb existence, and that he will require great courage and conviction in the future if he is to avoid sinking back into the tomb of conformity.
There will be untold battles waged within himself, wars that will test his every thread … of persistence and commitment.
As Dean puts it:
Yet there is a slight hint of pride in his contorted face, perhaps because he also knows that if he follows his passion with heartfelt intensity, if he dedicates himself unreservedly to his calling, he will persevere and ultimately find fulfillment, no matter where his life may lead him.
I Sat & Thought
I sat and thought about what I had just read. Dean eloquently put things into perspective for me:
We all have dreams and ambitions, though few of us ever become all that we could be. We fight a silent war over purpose, over reaching our farthest destination.
Comfort, complacency, routine, the path of least resistance, the easy road. Have the trappings of conventionality created a life for you that is entirely different from the one you wish to live?
A Gift Had Just Hit Me In The Face
Three BAMS you’re out!
You want real entertainment?
As George Lucas once said,
“We are all living in cages, with the door wide open”
I ask myself, perhaps dare to ask yourself:
Is THIS what you want?
Let me tell you — NOT THIS BABY.
By the way. Where is Mr. Dean Karnazes now?
I would LOVE to hear YOUR MARATHON/ULTRA MARATHON stories! Please post your blogs in the comments below.