Thursday, August 13, 2009

Why I Train

I'm currently reading "Born Tu Run" by Christopher McDougall; an absolutely fantastic read and one I would recommend to anyone. I was originally attracted to the book because it features my Coach Eric Orton, who helped transform the author from a runner with a history of injuries to one who was able to complete a 50 mile ultramarathon. But the true plot of the book is way beyond a training manual, McDougall's words in some way capture the essence of training hard and pushing oneself, the purity one can find in sport and the motivation athletes find to get out of bed each day.

When McDougall introduces Scott Jurek, perhaps the greatest ultra runner of all time, the words used to describe him screamed at me; reminding me why I love sport, and why I love to train.

"Strictly by accident, Scott stumbled upon the most advanced weapon in the ultrarunner's arsenal: instead of cringing from fatigue, you embrace it. You refuse to let it go. You get to know it so well, you're not afraid of it anymore.... You can't hate the Beast and expect to beat it; the only way to truly conquer something, as every great philosopher and geneticist will tell you, is to love it."

McDougall's description of how an athlete embraces the pain, torment and fatigue faced during training and racing is why I am so passionate about sports. Since I have been a child I have been at my best when my body has been at its worst. I have strived to push myself to my body's limit then see if I had more left in the tank. In some weird way when the pain is at its worst, when the conditions couldn't get more dire that is when I am most at peace and that is when I feel most alive.

What the first 209 pages of McDougall's book has reminded me of is that sport for so many people and cultures around the world is how we can find ourselves. That the challenge presented with a run, a lift, a hike or a bike ride can allow each of us to find inner peace and power. When I have to look deeper into my soul to finish a training session; when I am alone, on a ride with my legs screaming and my head aching, when I am in the gym forcing myself to do one more rep, or having just finished throwing up after a sprint and thirsting for more that I feel most aware of who I am and most at peace with the world around me. In that, diabetes has become the ultimate motivator; through embracing the challenge I have been able to find great serenity.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

great post! sounds like a perfect read for taper...