Last weekend, I had the privilege to pace my dear friend Amy during her first (and maybe last) 50 mile endurance run. The course could not have been in a more spectacular location-just North of San Francisco in the Marin Headlands. It offered the comfort of the Pacific when the hills got steep and turned to lush, waterfall laden Redwood forests when shelter from the sun was necessary. With an almost fantastical feel, the miles ticked on and 11 hours & 45 minutes later, it was over.
The alarm buzzed in the middle of a deep sleep. Groggy with excited like waking up on Christmas Day, we set out on a windy seaside road to the starting line. Amy, along with another friend, Jess, lined up among a crowd of beards, short shorts, compression tights, hopes and dreams. At the gun, hundreds of headlamps scampered up the hillside like a post work-traffic jam on the 101.
Mile 15 was the first contact with racers since the start and the pros were fascinating to watch as each one had a pit crew with an impressive refuel strategy- empty bottles and gels were replaced and off like a ghost in the fog they went. Amy and Jess arrived in good spirits as the sun peeked over the hillside.
My primary duty as pacer came at mile 33 and with time on my hands, I ran to my second job as enduro-chef. While racers were plodding along, I headed to the race kitchen and threw a pork shoulder and green chili in the crockpot to devour after sweet victory, and with enough time to spare, traded my chef coat and clogs in for my pacer suit and sneaks.
The day Amy told me she was running an ultra marathon I knew she was a lunatic, but being a nurturer of the insane, I ran alongside her reminding her of how nuts she really was. It paid off. I could not even tell you how many miles it took to get to the goal because that does not even matter. What does matter is she wanted it, so she took it with grace.
Where is your edge? Are you curious? Do you dream of setting out to accomplish something beyond your comprehension? If you're not sure, perhaps the words of Adyshanti will help you decide.