Saturday, November 17, 2012

I'm A Beat Up Old Chevy And Proud Of It!

As the time get's closer, I'm trying not to feel intimidated with the scope of what I'm getting my self into. The North Face Endurance Challenge Marathon will probably be the toughest physical challenge in my life. I've ridden a lot of Double Century's, competed in 2 Marathons, a couple of Half Marathons, fast 10K and so on.

The truth is it's been really tough keeping up training, a job and all the stuff in life. I'm tired! I have to force and play a lot of mental games with myself to stay motivated and keep on keeping on. I snap easier when stuff gets in my way. I'm a bit of a grouch lately. I just don't have a lot of patience.

Don't get me wrong, all this work does make me feel great but, keeping focus and an organized plan is draining and then those thoughts and doubt creep in all the time...

"Why am I doing this"?
"What the Hell am I doing anyway"?
"What is life all about"?

I think I'm cramming to find balance in my life. I want a healthy body, mind and spirit. A healthy vehicle will make it easier to find balance in the other two. At least that's what I'm telling myself.

What really helps me along though has been immersing myself into this world of running and lately , trail running. I forgot about how much I loved it when I was young and would spend hours with friends or by myself running through the woods, up and down hills through meadows and swamps! So free! Why did I ever stop doing that I ask myself? The people, athletes that I've met on the way, with their adventures, amazing accomplishments and words of encouragement and wisdom. More on this in a bit...

If you're not interested in hearing about my life before running skip this next bit and resume reading when my thoughts flow back to where I started this rant...

Why I'm a retired musician. (because so many friends and family have asked me about this)

My years and years beating myself up and trying to establish a musical career has just left me flat and disappointed, bitter and I'm just done with it. Sure I achieved a high level of proficiency and created music that was somewhat unique (as much as possible) and I learned how to fully express myself in the musical language. From the time I slid into my forties I rapidly lost my motivation to increase my proficiency and questioned the point of doing it at all. In a 12-15 year period I allowed myself to just be used by meg-lo maniac, egocentric people to push their "so called art" and their personal agendas forward, and what for? A pat on the back? I was their fucking mule! What a douche I was! Zero confidence in myself and a horrible self image created far back when I was a much younger idiot brought me to this point. I was afraid to take charge of my life. What a mistake!
I lost a lot of time when I should have been concentrating on myself. These characters used me up, spit me out and it's really my own fault. I own that one!

There's another reason I got burned out with it all. I have a thin skin and a fragile ego. Art comes along with a very judgmental audience and I began to doubt the musical path I had chosen. Playing guitar was just too much akin to being a gunslinger.
I spent a bit of time branching out on other instruments but, that just began to take up yet more and more time in my life. When I didn't have the time I would get horribly frustrated and depressed.
 To go to that next level at this point would take too much time, energy and motivation. I don't have time to do that work and keep myself healthy. Sitting all day long trying to develop finger muscle memory, trying to dig down deep in to my creative center became exhausting, time consuming and I felt like I had lost touch with other things that I enjoyed in life. No matter what I did someone would already be ahead of me and so much better. I always wanted to be at a higher level. It came to a point a few years ago when my life went to shit that any free time and energy dissipated completely. The road back has been filled with too many distractions, work, people and other obstacles.
I think what really has happened is I accomplished what I set out to do. Write and play some good music. It all became a dead horse to me and I was still beating the shit out of it.

I've realized at my core is the need to compete. I had problems because my personality would see music in that way. I can't help that, it's in my blood. It's just the way I am. I'm very, very competitive.

When I run, ride or whatever, the feeling I get when trying to get ahead and moving to the front is my drug. I thrive on it, it's who I am. The harder I push my self physically the stronger my mind and spirit become!
I need my freedom. I couldn't find that anymore with my music.
I like to compete with myself. It's geeky, interesting seeing what I can make the body accomplish. I'm a beat up old Chevy and I love tinkering under the hood. It makes me feel good and I've become more social as a side benefit and it  keeps me away from the dark places that I fear so much.


I got to run with Scott Jurek again!... I've now pondered the idea that maybe I could be considered his "Running Buddy"! I thought that was funny.

He's a really cool dude, with a kind heart and a true soul. An inspiration.

Quite a few people showed up for his speaking presentation. He had his new "Ultimate Directions" Running vest for sale. Mounted water bottles on a very light weight vest and plenty of room for other items to carry on a long haul.
Unfortunately for me I don't have that kind of cash right now but, It would sure come in handy!

His presentation was inspiring to say the least. He's spent a lot of time soul searching and you can just tell he enjoy's life, loves to share his wisdom and still is a highly motivated athlete with real practical goals.
Just a side note: I felt like a hero of the evening when he was having a problem with his video presentation. With my decades dealing with sound systems and audio equipment I ran up to the front of the stage and showed him something really simple and quick for an easy work around which brought cheers and a lot of appreciation from Scott!...Aahhh! My moment to shine : )


I did put a pair of shoes on hold while I was there. The "Brooks Cascadia's", a superb high caliber trail shoe. 
I felt I would be a bit more confident having a little more under my feet for my trail marathon. I love my "Pure Grit's" but, they're a little thin in the sole and I've had a couple of close calls stepping hard on rocks. They seem to be almost coming through the bottom of the shoe at times. Don't want to break a foot.

By the way they were designed along with Scott Jurek's insight.

Today was my last long run before the NorthFace event in two weeks. I did a punishing run through Mountain Lake trail, GG National Seashore, Beach run and some muddy trails through Golden Gate Park. Punishing in a muddy, slippery way. I had wanted to do some training up in Marin but just really didn't have the available time or fortitude to ride my bike up to Marin. I mainly just wanted to concentrate on pacing and other techniques so it didn't really matter where I was  to do this.
My run sucked. I was slow, messy and my legs are a bit beat from last weekends self imposed Marathon. I need to cool my jets for a couple of weeks and work on some active recovery. 
If I run at the pace I was at today I could end up doing a very lame, slow 6 hour Marathon.
I did do a PR through Lands End which got me on the Strava age group number 1 slot. The beach killed me too. I had to run through a lot of deep sand because the tide was high and it just beat me up.
I hope I'm more together in two weeks. I really have a plan to just try and enjoy the experience and I keep reminding myself this is only my third official trail run!
Well, onward and upward I hope.

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