Saturday, April 28, 2012

Go fly a kite

"We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon."
- Emil Zatopek, 1952 Olympic Marathon gold medalist

Interesting stuff keeps it interesting. I guess. One could easily shrug shoulders dismissing as coincidence at best or meaningless, random, unrelated or trivial, but I much prefer to add the meta to the physical, adding the more, beyond, ancestral, mystic. Keeps me in the game longer wondering if there is something still to come as a result of the journey to here. 

We were talking about 'the dialogue' again this morning. That (sometimes) two-way discourse that takes place when we have earned the right to speak with Mr or Ms Fatigue. Because that is when it gets interesting. The gist of that conversation will tell the tale. On your training session, in your event, on your journey. Goes like this:

You: Man it's hot out here today. (Glance at watch) 2 hours and I'm only at mile 13. I am so slow. I should never should have signed up for this race, I'm not ready.

F: Hi there. How's the piriformis handling all these foot strikes and elevation gain? You look a little peaked. Dehydrated, too. It's OK to quit you know, your Mom will still love you and the County Assessor will send you a letter soon. C'mon let's slow it down and think this through. 

You: Look, pal, you are an illusion. You are not real. There is no such person as Ms Fatigue. You are a figment of my fertile and fickle imagination. Please, and I mean this with all due respect, go fly a kite. We, or me alone, are going to finish what we set out to do with focus, with grace and with confidence. I can do this, so please either stay and support, or scram. Your choice.

F: There is no choice. You are fatigued and must slow down or stop. Can't you feel that buildup of lactic acid practically burning holes in your legs? And your heart rate, I can hear if from here. Your feet are sore and your lower back is starting to spasm. You will fail. Stop now and all that will vanish. Trust me.

You: There is a choice. And I choose to endure. I chose to keep moving, I choose to invoke all the skills, power and endurance I have earned in preparation along with my enhanced mental toughness to stay present and in the moment. I will survive. Stay positive, breathe, relax and add some economy and love. That is my choice. You are a phantom. 

F: OK, fine. Have it your way. Go ahead and hurt. Enjoy the suffering. You have ten miles to go and the route is lined with pain. I'll be back.

You: See ya. 

And fatigue is gone. You have transcended. You have won the debate. At this point, the outcome in hours and minutes makes little difference. There is one thing certain, you will finish, on your terms and to the best of your focused ability. 

Fatigue is relentless, as promised, it returns. The dialogue is repeated, but this time (at mile 20) it's not (quite) so animated:

F: Still thinking that I don't exist? It's never too late to toss the towel. C'mon, in the history of the world no-one will ever care that you quit, AND I have came up with the perfect excuse: Hyponatremia. Nobody knows what that is and it sounds scary. When you tell 'em that you quit at (now mile 22) because you went water toxic, they'll go, "oh, you poor thing, how that must have hurt." And all you have to do then is agree. IT'S SO EASY. JUST STOP.

You: You are wasting your time. I am not giving in. Matter of fact I feel stronger and more confident then ever. Yes this hurts, but you know what? I can take it. We are so close. I can taste it. This is sweet. 

There is no reply. No counter, no additional spin. It is simply you doing what you do. There is no duality. OF COURSE IT HURTS--IT'S SUPPOSED TO. The point is that you took charge. You are now totally in control of you. The demons are dust. You stared them down. You faced your fears and sent them scurrying for cover. Impowerment, growth and an incredible sense of being is all that remains as the finish comes into view. 

F: Last chance. 

You: No. Watch this (you sprint the last 100 meters with all remaining octane in the tank). 

F: Nicely done.

You: Thanks, could't have done it without 'ya. Seriously.

F: I know. I just try to keep it interesting. 

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