Had a close friend and amazing athlete ask me those questions that we fail to confront. They cause anxiety and paralysis.
We run maddeningly from one thing to the next slopping ink on our check off lists without a moments reflection as to WTF or Why(TF) we are doing it.
Taking am moment to answer these questions changes everything. I've decided to post below my encounter with actually thinking about what I'm doing, instead of doing it...
What is your agenda?
1) ADK 540 on September 16th-18th, 2011
a) Finish race, foremost. I failed to do this in 2005 when I was a complete greenhorn and was clueless about how to race an ultra. I have to finish this race!
b) Qualify for RAAM. If my time is within a certain % of fastest ‘racer not already qualified for RAAM', I qualify.
c) I want to be the first place ‘racer not already qualified for RAAM’. I don’t know if I can beat the big boys, but I want to be in the running.
2) VA Double Ironman October on October 7th-9th, 2011
a) Finish race to validate my entry into EpicMan
b) Learn about my body in this new medium of racing. I need to finish, so I can’t open the throttle fully. But I want to push it harder and harder to the end and maybe crack the top 5.
c) Finish within 24 hours.
3) EpicMan on December 30th-January 1, 2011-2012
b) Finish mid to front pack.
c) Make a name for myself as young gun at and event with the world's greatest. This was invite only.
What motivates your quest?
The primitive, possibly genetic, inclination for exploration. There are no regions of the Earth for me to be the first person to arrive and conquer. There are no Napoleonic conquests to be taken (not that I’m really into conquering peoples).
I thrive on conquering myself. As of this nano-second there are regions of my body, my being, and my soul that are untapped and veiled from my consciousness. They are waiting and perfectly content for me to live a life unexamined.
Is there a tangible or quantitative payoff awaiting? Nope. Just the fact that there is the possibility of unlocking more of myself is a call to action in and of itself.
This second I cannot accomplish the above agenda. But with ruthless dedication I can.
I can find that new continent.
I can found that new nation.
I can be that new level Being.
That is encoded into the exploration quest that is in our genes.
And I believe within my body there is more than continents, planets, or even stars.
What are you trying to prove and to whom?
I’d like my actions (and maybe my reflections upon said actions) to rattle, irritate, confound, and, yet, hopefully inspire the apathetic despair I see in 99 out of 100 Americans who bought into a false dream about what living is.
I do have chips on my shoulder.
Hopefully when I cross the finish lines I will see how silly, unnecessary, and actually counter productive they were.
Why are you trying to be successful at something that requires pain, suffering, and sacrifice to achieve at the highest level?
Anesthesized comfort and indulgence is cheap. It’s a talking point everyone has bought into as being of value.
I can’t give any objective answer to this. Only:
I want what I can’t have, what pain, suffering, and sacrifice prevents everyone else from getting.
Beauty comes in many forms, and it is always wielded by an artist. That artist is doing something previously undone. Doing the undone is never painless.
Is there a perfection of the ascetic life of a pro athlete that appeals to you?
Yes. I was a self imposed ascetic from age 13 on. I got my first bass guitar then and ruthlessly focused myself upon it as if it were a religious icon.
I went through two teachers and all their knowledge by age 16. My third teacher was on another plane of existence.
Greatness is beautiful. Greatness comes from committing to something beyond any conceivable understanding of the average non-artist.
Being an artist is being an ascetic. It’s going after something greater than yourself. Something greater than the money, white picket fence, and cushy life. Something so amazing that consumerism is a laughable matter.
And in this lies a perfection.
My house burned down? I can still play a Bach Cello Suite like no one else!
My car got stolen? I cracked 36 hours in EpicMan!
My IRA went to $0? I’ve lived life with deep relationship with actual Being in this strange cosmos.