“I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it”
I'm an ultra-runner. At least I was, kind of still am. It's been a long road.
I love to run, it used to be away from stuff, and I was running a lot—mostly from myself and my penchant for cracking open beers at eight o'clock in the morning. I ran across my home country until my body screamed at me to stopped the madness, but I didn't stop, don't know how to sometimes. I had a good few years where I ran, and placed well, in some ultra-distance events. Anything from 50k to 100 miles to 24hrs was the norm, I didn't discriminate against distance, I just ran. I love the freedom of it, the distillation of life down to a repetitive motion that most people are capable of doing. I think too that I ran to prove something to my friends and my family. People talked about running 10k races and inside I was thinking how tough I was for running over ten times that distance. All seasons change, though. My life altered dramatically for a number of reasons and I found myself not running at all. Looking back in it, it's hard to pinpoint a real reason. Of course family came first and work hours had to be put it, but I found every excuse I could—niggling injuries, tiredness, self-pity. I just didn't have the guts to go out and apply myself in a disciplined way. I was lazy, resting on my past performances as if I was entitled to be fit because I had put in so much work in the past.
After two years in the wilderness, I got back on the trails recently. The first few runs were a struggle, and I cursed my raspy lungs and my lactic acid-filled legs. The difference this time though is that I am embracing the amount of work it will take to get me in shape for my first ultra in March of next year. Life is completely like this, too. I've watched myself and a few of those around me throw their hands up in surrender because the wall in front of them seems insurmountable. The obstacles we face in life are very similar to those early days of running. Pushing past the obstruction seems like too much effort and bother. However, by putting in the daily effort and taking it one victorious kilometre at a time, the results can be life altering. No accomplishment is impossible if we are capable of dreaming it. After two years and many situations and conversions where friends have said, “Oh yeah, Mally runs too, he's an ultra-runner,” and I have internally said, “Actually, that was the old me,” I can now make peace with the fact that I am on the roads most days, working towards my goal. The difference this time is that I am not trying to impress anyone, but instead am moving forward with a passion and a purpose I thought I had lost. Feels pretty good, too.