Why do we run long distances? Some blogs and books suggest that we are genetically hardwired to run long, ultra distances. (Of course most people aren't in touch with that part of their genetic code, and so haven't got the message.) Others say we are running away from something? A bad relationship, troubles at home, problems with the kids. Still others say that ultra runners are obsessive compulsive, and that ultra running fills that needs. And finally there are those who think that we're punishing ourselves physically for some reason.
I say we run to feel the warm sunshine on our face after the sun has come up over a particularly beautiful ridge line. I say we run to be with friends who love nature as much as we do, who love camaraderie, jokes, and long intimate trail conversations. We are people who are in touch with being alive-all the way alive. We love the buzz that we get when we're five, six, ten hours into a race and suddenly feel like we could run another five, six, or ten hours more. The sweet endorphin rush is better than any drug or liquor. (O.K., maybe there are a few beers that come close to the endorphin rush.....)
Today I spent the better part of the day with a great group of UR people. Unlike most initial meetings of people who don't know each other there was a comfortableness right from the get go, as we climbed up to the ridge line on the AT. The miles flew by with sweet views, good running, and fine conversation that flowed in a natural, fun way. Soon we reached the half way point of our run, refueled, and headed back. Conversations ranged from the base (you know what I mean if you run ultras) to the esoteric (what is an oenophile?) Again the miles melted away as the sun shone down on our mini-ultra on the AT, and all too soon we were back at the trail head sharing a frosty post race beverage. Part two consisted of a very fine set of micro brews at the Appalachian Brewing Company with some good grub and more good laughs.
Is there a better way to spend the day? I really can't think of one. It was great to meet the folks in the LRRC, Harry, Steve, Beth, and several others whose voice I would recognize instantly but couldn't put a name with. (That's what happens when you're staring at the trail trying (unsuccessfully) not to fall!)
Here's to many more miles and smiles together.
4 hours ago