Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Comfort Zone

Why are you running the Grand to Grand Ultra? This is the question I have been posed most frequently over the past few months. So many People find it hard to comprehend why a Person would put themselves through the ordeal of running 270(ish) self supported Kilometers through the Grand Canyon. So everytime a Person asks me the question why I'm embarking on this adventure, I always get stuck on words, its simply a Feeling I can't describe.

After a month of injury and being plagued with a gnarly cold, I have had a lot of time to question myself on why I am doing this. Because my Training had to be comporomised due to the issues I was having, an avalanche of self-doubt came over me. The Training runs I did do were either uncomfortable because I had this nagging niggle above my ankle or I felt sluggish and powerless because of the cold I was fighting. For the first time though, I listened to the voice of my Body and decreased my running drastically to prevent myself from getting a serious injury. I usually embrace the attitude of "just one more run, and by tomorrow it will miraculously be better". That naive thinking has always run me into Trouble and resulted in stress fractures that have forced me to hit the wall and stop running for Extended periods of time. This time I decided to listen and test my willpower in a different way, to step out of my safety Zone or comfort Zone, which is enjoying the freedom of running everyday and the peace it gives me, and decrease my mileagae until my Body gave me the green light telling me it was ready to go again.

I was petrified of not running as much. I was unsure how I would handle myself, how I would occupy myself, where I would find a Substitute outlet. I was scared of having thoughts get stuck in my head, because when I run my thoughts are also in Motion, its as though I'm meditating in Motion. What if I was Standing still? Would my thoughts stand still as well and consume my mind like anorexia did? I came to find that my thoughts still moved, but I had to find a different way to let them move and observe them. I found a beautiful bench perched high above the village where I would hike to everyday to Meditate. At first I couldn't Focus... I had no Patience... I would get irritated by bugs and bees. As I persevered my mind began to calm down and my ears would trace the sounds of the things, first in my immediate surrounding, then Extended into the distance. My thoughts came and went, my Body relaxed. I visualized myself running through the Grand Canyon and a Feeling of joy and peace came upon me.

As I progressed back into running I felt comfortable with a slow build up again. I didn't have the Feeling that I had to make up what I had lost in physical Fitness during that time , because in reality I had gained so much more in a mental way.

I was so far outside of my comfort Zone CHOOSING not to run. Thats when I realized that the beautiful Thing about comfort is that we don't always have to move within it, but its always a place we can come back to and be rewarded with that welcoming Feeling like coming home!

I ran through the beautiful mountain hinterlands this morning and as I was (what it felt like) dancing down and gliding up the trails, I realized why I want to do this race. It's because running and the Feeling I get from it is simply an eye opener to how we should experience life regardless if we're running, Walking, sitting, living inside or outside of our comfort zones, on happy or on less happy days...

So here is my answer to why I am running the G2G Ultra - because running is my metaphor for life, its my life Mantra "RunWithLife, RunWithEndurance"!