In our last post (DNF 10/27/11), we talked a lot about why it is that we DNF in races. I’m hoping that those of you who read this blog and are not runners/ultra-runners can help tease out the parallels of what we’re talking about here, in regards to running vs other activities.. and in some times.. even life. We often say that Ultra-Running is a metaphor for life and much of what we learn while adventuring, much of what we experience while “out there” can be transferred to some other kind of life meaning.
So, in keeping our last discussion in mind, I want to take another stab here at trying to clarifying the things that I was trying to express in that post. I wasn’t purposely signaling any one person out when writing the last post and if you took it that way, then perhaps the post just really resonated with you or struck a nerve close to home. Take a few more moments to think about why it bothered you and then come back here and move forward with us.
After that post however I realized that I regretfully forgot to mention something in my final thoughts that I feel is relevant. And that something is, How Do You Measure Success? So, please forgive me when I say that, perhaps many of us have DNF’d races because we have a different sense of what our success on any given day actually looks like. I most closely think about my experiences at the Slickrock 100. Where, I really wanted to run the 52 miles Rim2Rim2Rim of the Grand Canyon for my birthday because it would be amazing and “far enough.” Yet I chose the Slickrock 100, a race where, upon arriving and hearing of course changes, never really felt a true connection to the race and didn’t truly have a view of what success looked like on that given day. In the end, success looked like this, “Well.. I ran in a gorgeous place that closely resembles the Grand Canyon and I made it 52 miles.. I’m happy.” So, my success on that day, much in like my day out at the 2010 Barkley Marathons, was measured by my level of satisfaction. In turn I admit.. perhaps we DNF events because where we made it on race day made us happy and that, in effect, is successful beyond the finish line itself.
So I wanted to find a video that more accurately exemplifies what it is I was trying to ponder and prove in my last post and I found this one. In this video from Ted.com, Matthew Childs provides us with his 9 life lessons from rock climbing. What struck me about this video and how it fits here in our discussion, is that it affords us an opportunity to utilize Matthews 9 steps in a different context. Put these rock climbing lessons into the plans for your next run or race. Put these lessons into your next hike or whatever other adventure expedition. Within this video, I feel, is a series of tools to carry in your life tool box wherever it is you may go.. and if you use these tools, you’ll rarely need to use the Super Glue.