For new readers

To get an idea of what I'm trying to do and why I think it's possible, check out the following entries, they'll help get you up to speed.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Slug Paradox

I'm only just back (ok, i was back five days ago) from a 3.5 day expedition length adventure race.  From the time the gun went off on at 9:20 am until we hit the finish line 74 hours later, I'd biked over 150 miles, Paddled around 50, and run (using the term loosely here) another 50.  Most of this was done at or above 8000 feet (I'd driven from about 1500 feet the day before the race) on a course that included some rugged terrain and lots of ups and downs.  During those 74 hours I slept less than 4, and consumed roughly 10-12,000 calories, about half of what i burned.

So why, then, do i feel like such a slug?

It's not unique to this race to be honest - but the longer the race, the more i notice this strange paradox.  The harder the challenge (and the more robustly I meet it) the softer i feel in the days following.  Maybe its because i'm so destroyed afterwards.  Maybe it's because the 24 hours after such a big undertaking are like returning to infancy - Eat as much as you can.  Look around for a few minutes.  Go to sleep.  Wake up.  Repeat.

To be honest, the rest of the week has been much the same.  But so be it.  I'll give myself that week. And in the meantime I'll revel in my fascination about how quickly things change:  one week ago i was deep in the gripping immediacy of a desperate struggle that i'd purposefully undertaken - to keep me and my team moving forward with relentless determination in an attempt to clear a completely arbitrary course (we were unsuccessful).

And, for better or for worse, i'll also revel in my fleeting brush with slughood.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Notes on Adventure Racing

 Cold AND Wet.  Dirty was irrelevant.
Team ENDracing/Yogaslackers placed third in the stubborn mule  30 hour adventure race this last weekend.  As navigator of the team, i learned lots during the race, got us lost a few times, and realized we have a pretty good team that is just going to keep getting better.  I also remembered why i love adventure racing so much - it wakes me up.

Most of my life I spend operating in a way where certain distinctions between things not only make sense, but have great bearing on my decisions.  Clean vs. Dirty is a prime example.  Adventure racing takes me to a place where this distinction is useless.  Cold vs Warm - sure, thats important.  Wet vs. Dry  is useful too (wet packs weigh more than dry ones). But clean and dirty drop away.  

I get closer to a primal (as overused as the notion is in pop culture) state.  I realize the resilience of my body.  I can survive deep forest teeming with mosquitos.  I can sleep in the middle of a swamp standing up.  An open lake paddle after 24 hours of racing (26 hours awake) becomes blissful because the sun rises to warm and dry me after a cold, wet night.  

I let things go.  The natural world is no longer the 'natural' world.  For those 30 hours, it is simply the world - 'natural' no longer provides a meaningful distinction.