Monday, August 19, 2013


It began, probably, before I could tell you, but with hours to think instead of running I have my own hypothesis.  At some point it went from a nag in my left knee to a real injury that I had to deal with, and that point happened a few weeks before I wanted to acknowledge it.  Easier said than done.  Its a process, coming to grips with an injury, a process akin to coming to grips with losing something that meant a lot to you.  All of the normal problems arise at different times: denial, depression, questioning, frustration, anger, denial again, self examination, hypothesizing, deciding running is stupid anyways, a little more denial, and ultimately acknowledging and accepting that I do indeed have an injury.  These are a list of words that were much easier to write than the process of understanding an injury was for me.  It took me weeks to finally admit that perhaps I should take a few consecutive days off from running. 

With the down time during recovery I was allowed time to really think, and I eventually came to the realization that sometime philosophy has a real tangible relation to ultra running.  In this instance I began to draw conclusions between some writings of Rousseau and my own dilemma.  For Rousseau and his arguments against the enlightenment one of the biggest violations to the natural state of the human being is the act of being dishonest with one's self due to the desire and admiration of qualities of those who where exemplified in his era.  In other words he claims that the comparison of other outside ideals with ourselves causes us to ignore our own natural state, and strive to be something we are not.  For Rousseau this untruth to one's self came out of comparison between people, but perhaps in ultra running it takes its form on the expectations we place upon ourselves.  We set goals, sign up for races, feel pressure to hit certain (somewhat arbitrary) weekly mileages.  We read blogs of other runners, push ourselves to train harder, and all at the cost of our own bodies.  Ideally, most of the time this pushes us to be better at what we try to do, but sometimes our bodies react differently, and when injuries occur we have our choices to make.  For me, I decided to tell myself that my knee pain was a minor problem, and would go away in a week, Big surprise: it did not heal because I continued to focus on my goal performance apart from the needs of my body.  We find that truth does not come until we refuse the desire to perform for others, and thus learn to run each step as ourselves, taking each step merely as a means to move our bodies forward.

All is not lost in the world of injuries though, I have been climbing more consistently and harder than I have in a while.  The dishes are done, and I have re-awakened an unyielding desire to be back in the mountains.  I am back running again after taking a couple of weeks off, and as Dr. Leo Marvin would say, it all about "Baby Steps". 

Mt Ashland Hill Climb: Watching not running

Spending time with the Fam.  Picking blackberries at the family ranch.

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