I have a deep respect for Christopher Columbus. I have always felt that, if he had been alive today, he would have turned his curiosity, and desire to discover, inward. I think ole Chris would have been an ultra runner.
In my youth I watched the Olympics on TV in great awe. I wondered how a human could run a mile, it seemed like such a great distance to a small boy. In high school, as a track and field sprinter, I always thought that the “distance runners” were a bit odd. Why would you want to punish yourself on a daily basis and keep running for hours on end? As I grew a bit older, and a lot slower, I turned my attention to running to stay in shape. I trotted along daily and did so for quite a while, until a friend, a friend who I thank and curse til this very day, challenged me to run against him in a 5k race. I never thought him much of an athlete, but he still beat me by 5 minutes. I was so crushed by this defeat, from a perceived lesser athlete, that I took it as a personal challenge to never lose to him again and so began my journey.
Little did I know that my journey would lead me to one discovery after another and continually beckon me into the next unknown. If you are at all like me you were not satisfied with a 5k, half marathon, Ironman, Ultraman or 100k trail run finish. Don’t get me wrong all of those distances are very admirable goals, I celebrated attaining each with great gusto, but all were somewhat anticlimactic for my explorer self. This insidious question of “I have found this, now what is over there” of self discovery has haunted me for a lifetime, and I somehow know it will be the death of me. I constantly struggle to see myself from space, all the while knowing that it will be never possible.
I have to go now, I’m training for that 100. If you too are like Christopher Columbus and we cross paths along the way, say hi. I’ll be easy to spot, I’m the slow guy who seems to be looking for something.