Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Different Breed

There is a different breed of person out there, and I met with one of them yesterday. The best way I can describe this individual is that he was a burly man comfortable in his own skin who confidently marches to the rhythm of his own drum. He does not need Facebook to define his identity nor a cell phone to complete him. There is not a stitch of fear within him nor any refrain from working hard. He is a simple man and a genuine provider with his family being his only motivation. Spare time for this man is never spent on the couch counting pixels on his television, he spends it instead working with raw materials producing handmade knives. This man is truly a different breed from the normal ebb and flow of our society, someone to take note of and someone to honor for daring to be himself. After meeting with this individual I began to ask myself if I too am a different breed of person. Besides my tenacious work ethic and disdain for Facebook, I trek through mountains in my spare time. My trekking consists of running double digit miles. Whether it is raining, sleeting, or snowing day or night I make my treks through the local mountains. Besides my trekking, I also tend to stick out a bit around the office with my polite declines of eating donuts and going out on fast food outings. I'm also not a fan of movies and am rather clueless on the latest television shows and entertainment news; I simply just don't care. I guess you can say I am a person of a different sort and run to the beat of my own song.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Eudaemonia

Aristotle's concept of eudaemonia is the pursuit of a well-lived life. Without delving deep into his philosophical idea, it is basically the pursuit of happiness through virtue rather than through material acquisition. It is believed one cannot truly be happy in life with the acquisition of wealth, power, and beauty alone and must lead a life of virtue and good character in order to achieve true happiness. Fast forwarding Aristotle's idea into our modern day and one can quickly surmise we have by and large become a hedonistic society in pursuit of material acquisition at the expense of virtue and good character. Today's society has become consumed with the pursuit of a comfortable life, a life free of pain, challenges, and adversity. As a result, people have become weak, soft, and lazy barely able to cope with life without prescription drugs like Zoloft, Paxil, or Lunesta (not to mention the legalization of marijuana). Whenever we get a healthy dose of life we should embrace the pain and adversity instead of avoiding it, for these type of experiences is where our strength and character is built. When we overcome life challenges we become fearless and confident that we can handle anything that comes our way without cowering back into our comfortable corners. It is when we overcome that we truly experience a well-lived life.

Monday, October 27, 2014

iLife

It appears everyone has to have all the latest and greatest these days. They'll wait in line and jump at the chance to get their hands on the next hottest iGadget with all the bells and whistles that will surely make they're lives better. We now have a near inactive society of zombies wandering around with their heads down staring at a pale blue light in the palm of their hands. Instead of genuine face to face interactions with one another we have succumbed to a gimmick style reality that has slowly been sucking the life out of us. Rather than venturing to the top of a mountain to enjoy breathtaking views, people opt for the view from Instagram or Facebook instead. Some of our best interactions are performed through self absorbed postings on the internet that stroke our egos to a barely present electronic audience posting the same about themselves; it appears any genuine interest of another in their presence is a rarity nowadays. This observation has me concerned and I am seriously thinking about opting out of my iWorld and get back into life. I recognize the mild need for a standard cell phone, and as I was looking into downgrading to a simpler cell phone, I quickly discovered that the smartphone has taken over the market. My consumer choices was either a smartphone or a smartphone, which of course comes with the mandated data plan. It would seem we have been herded like cattle to go into a particular direction unbeknown to us the perilous direction we are heading. This type of iLife is not for me. Sure, I admit I have learned to appreciate apps like Runstastic and Lose It, and the convenience of online banking, but there was a time I was able to live just fine without them. Do I dare revert back into life as I knew it, or continue embracing our modern day iLife Apple has created. Can I reteach myself to calculate my miles by mapping out my runs and using a simple little watch rather than relying on a GPS app? Can I regain my lost ability to listen to the natural signs my body puts forth to refuel and rehydrate instead of relying on an app to tell me what to eat and when to drink water? Do I even dare think about severing the iPhone from my right hand in order to experience the true essence of life? Do I dare not to? 

Friday, October 17, 2014

My Season of Running recap

My season of running has been a wonderful experience that has brought on many changes in my outlook on life and running. During this season I learned to slow down and stop on occasion to smell the roses, quite literally. As I worked through some nagging injuries I realized my focus on running should never have been on the next race, but rather on the experience of the journey (translated: I allowed myself to walk when needed). This epiphany of slowing down to enjoy my journey on planet earth led me to run barefooted through grassy fields like a little kid. This was a very freeing experience as I got to enjoy the simplicity of life, all by simply running for miles through the grassy fields. I quickly fell in love with running barefooted and soon transitioned into the Altra Zero Drop shoes, which simulate barefoot running and allowed me to continue running like a kid; by the way, the Altra Lone Peak shoes are simply the best trail shoe ever. Anyways, as I continued further into my season of running I rediscovered the welcoming factor of the trails. The trails have once again engulfed me, drawing me into their arms, accepting me for exactly who I am without judgement or prejudice. I have once again been set free from this world and allowed once again to run free. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Season of My Running



This is the season of my running, which is defined as running without any agenda. There are no race goals in my future and no training schedules keep. It doesn't matter how fast or slow I run or how many miles I go. I am just running. This is my season where I simply enjoy the love of running, the season where I just lose myself within my runs. I want my season to be filled with opportunities of listening to the trails and allowing them to speak to me. Nothing mystical or spiritual, but simply soaking in the sites and sounds of nature. For example, the other day as I was running through a field leading up to the trailhead I noticed I was literally running side by side with a butterfly, the moment was surreal. The scents of the trails also have an alluring and soothing affect to them, but many times before they have gone nearly undetected, lost within a training regimen. Now during my season of running I have the opportunity to inhale the scents of lilac and honeysuckle and enjoy their soothing affects. Suddenly the trails have a noticeable sound of their own providing another world ready to engulf my own. The rustling of critters and chirping of birds are inviting in their own rite, but it is the buzzing of various insects and the songs of cicadas that transport me to the jungle of my mind. As I whisk past the lush greenery of a Kentucky summer I have the opportunity to high five low lying branches, the leafy hands of my greatest fans. Every rock and root along the pathway are no longer the nemesis to my runs, but rather have become more like familiar friends. If ever there was a moment when I discover my place and connection to our wonderful planet it is definitively while I am running the trails. This is the season of my running.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

My Rediscovery




Lately I have been nursing an injury worried about my amateur running career to the point of obsession. Scott Jurek I am not so I had to rekindle, or discover, my run. I have ditched any form of a running regimen or training plan and started going out to just simply run, nothing more. No longer do I track my time or pace and I now run without regard to the miles I am running. Basically I just go out and run. In my process of rekindling I have rediscovered my adventure. Now whenever I embark running on the trails I am engulfed into the experience and not into some training endeavor. I have rediscovered the simple joys of life like inhaling the scents of honeysuckle or fresh pine needles as I glide along through the forest. Simply backing off from a running regimen has allowed me to rekindle the joy of pausing to gaze at mountaintop views while vultures gracefully glide just overhead. My moments on the trails have become an undisturbed stillness that can never be extinguished, my secret place in the world where I can be me without fear of judgement or repercussions. Running the trails has ultimately been discovering my place in the world, in the universe, that I and nature are interwoven and connected in deeply meaningful ways. 


Saturday, May 10, 2014

One More Left?


There are many factors to trail running, everything from proper nutrition and hydration to proper running gear and attire. Trail running also has many dynamics to it, everything from challenging factors to the perfect zen moment (or runner's high if you so prefer). The trails also have a way of drawing you in and calling you back for more; more miles, more scenic views, and more exploration. My legs have carried me over 1,200 miles of trails last year, and the year before that; in fact, the previous two years before the trails were spent an average of running 1,200 miles of asphalt per year. I have basically ran nearly 5,000 miles in the last four years, and I am wondering if it is beginning to show. Lately my legs have grown tired and stiff which has caused me to contemplate if this is a reconditioning/recovery phase or if my body is needing a season of rest; and when I say rest I basically mean tapering off from the big double digit miles. The thought occurred to me today that I may only have one more big race in me, and when I say big, I am referring to marathons plus. Is there a shifting of activity gears in my future, or will my body fully bounce back for yet another round of endurance trail running? Dare as I might, if there is only one big race left in me may it be the ultra-marathon, a full blown 50 miler. Why the ultra? I suspect it'll provide the ultimate athletic adventure and memories of a lifetime. I am certain it'll provide never ending bragging rights as I would become one of the elite of the elite in the class of athleticism; only 0.00005% of Americans successfully finish the ultra-marathon distance each year. This is certainly a decision that only time will determine if I have one more left.