Saturday, April 9, 2011

I am not Superman.

Ok, so Charlie Sheen might not be the only one who is aware of this fact. Perhaps you are aware of this as well. I figured it out (again) on today's run.

I say "again" because this always happens. Do you remember as a kid when you read about a superhero in a comic book, or watched a cool TV Show that you immediately wanted to emulate what the superhero did in the book/movie? How many broken bones have there been in the last 4 generations with kids jumping off their houses with a cape? In fact, around our house you can count on anytime we see a movie with a superhero, we will have several days of superhero battles and epic struggles against the enemies of law and justice. (not me, my kids..I usually get to play the bad guy)

Last night my wife brought home a book from the library that I had requested. It is called Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner by Dean Karnazes. So far it is an amazing book. I am nearly halfway through the book in just a day. (that's a huge deal for me...I'm not an avid reader, I will accept your applause and adulation in the comment section) The book goes into vivid detail of his experiences on his first few races. The first of which was the Western States Endurance Race. These races are simply mind-boggling. They are 100 mile Ultra Marathons through some of the worst terrain imaginable. Oh, and you have to complete Western States in twenty-four hours. 100 24 hours. Only a handful finish the race each year.

Not long ago I read about a fellow blogger in Hawaii who ran the HURT 100 which is a similar 100 mile trail ultramarathon. She (yes SHE) was one of only 32 of 111 finishers of that race. Her race report is truly inspiring.

Last year I read Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. Are you aware that there are people on this earth..right literally chase down live antelope or deer on foot for so long that the animal can finally run no more and just simply collapses?!? That really happens. Oh and these guys do it all barefoot.

Are any of these people super human? No, but when I read these stories, I'm like a kid again, with cape tied firmly around my neck, grabbing dad's ladder and going up to the roof. "If Superman can fly, why can't I?" Today I went out thinking I was just going to run through a mountain. I was so pumped up by Dean's story, I went out without regard for pace, and I was going to destroy my 10 miler...unfortunately Mr. Humidity showed up, and I quickly learned that I was indeed, not Superman. I finished, but was completely gassed through most of the run.

What is it that attracts me to these stories of epic human endurance? There is something inside of them that I see and I value. It is an indomitable spirit that simply will not let them give up no matter what their body is saying. Their mind is powerful, and it overrides that voice inside them that says to quit. We all have that voice...we must conquer it in order to lay claim to our dreams and goals. That voice is the only thing that stands between me and what I desire.

We all may have different reasons to run: to lose weight, to stay healthy or to race. But deep down we're all running to defeat "I can't"..for he stands in the way of our dreams.

Let me know how you're defeating "I can't" this weekend.

1 comment:

OtterPop said...

"Can't" has fortunately never been in my life's vocab. It was just not allowed when I was a kid, so I don't really use it as an adult, either. Behind "can't," there are always a ton of excuses, my Dad would say. I was brought up with the notion that you either DID or DID NOT (like Yoda once said :) ). You went after something that you wanted, you took a risk, and either flew or fell. If you fell, you got back up, brushed off and moved on. And if you opted to not take the risk, it was a choice you dealt with. But you never got to make excuses about the DID NOT, or you got an earful from my Dad -- who is someone I now thank immensely for letting me know that excuses are not okay when it comes to what's personally important. But when you're a 7 year-old who just "can't" take out the trash, that life lesson is not something you want to hear about. :)

Hope all of your readers will fight off "I can't" and get out this weekend (in the early a.m. or later evening, since the stupid humidity can quickly make a "can't" person out of just about anybody!). I hope to get out in the morning myself.