An Ultrarunning Blog

STRPPD.

“We tread the icy path slowly and cautiously, for fear of tripping and falling. Then turn abruptly, slip, crash on the ground and, rising, hasten on across the ice lest it cracks up. We feel the chill north winds coarse through the home despite the locked and bolted doors. This is winter, which nonetheless brings its own delights.”Vivaldi, “The Four Seasons – Winter”

It is always easy to blame something, someone. For me, it was HURT, not because of the event itself, but the moment in my history it marked; an equinox at the shifting my of axis. To say the months since HURT were challenging would be only scratching the surface of truth. I hope to capture well what has been bubbling to the surface and let it breathe.

Everyone has a breaking point.

Either the longevity of a situation or compounding restrictions can take tolls on a person. I have been dealing with both. Running has been my respite, my meditation, my way of reminding me that nature takes its time and fruits bear. That mode of processing disappeared after HURT. I struggled with 30 minute hikes which left me aching and unable to sleep for nights later. Each attempt to grasp at maintaining a hold on the situation, on life was leaving me painfully empty handed.

I had tossed my penny in the well and waited for the splash but there was only silence.

Work was starting again. An opportunity I am beyond grateful for having landed in front me was still not what I wanted to be doing with my life. Sometimes you just have to do things, but I do not how much longer I can pursue life outside of passion. The job carried with it a certain set of challenges not dissimilar from any other new position. The finish line for time to hear on my Canadian permanent residence was coming in to view. The end of June became my focus. But even with as long as I have waited, I could not wait anymore. The frustrations were akin to having course markings constantly being changed. I resorted to putting my head down and pushing towards a PR decision. I had waited long enough and felt I owed it to myself.

From my running community here in Vancouver BC, I am known as the guy that can ralley and gut out a finish at any race if need be. It is a characteristic I am happy to possess naturally with many chances to nurture. I have been able to develop a lot of techniques that help me endure on and off the trails. But as a dear friend of mine told me, “just because you are good at struggling does not make it any less of a struggle.”

The real struggle had just begun. Training began to enter my life again. Void of any solace or joy, I found myself cutting runs short because they were mentally taxing. I only wanted to run alone because those few hours were the only time during the week I could try to forget the tangled web of life at this juncture, to no avail. And that is when the fissures began to crack.

“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses respect for himself and for others. And having no respect, he ceases to love.” – Dostoevsky

Identity crisis. Who am I when running is stripped away?

Existential crisis. How do I live away from all I know: science, running, and community? What will I do with my life when I do not even know where or when I will be living in any given place? What is the point?

These were the questions I carried with me every day. Close friends saw the cracks – my smile not as wide, my laugh not as deep. The PR finish line keeps moving further away. The end is no longer in sight and my spirit is tired.

The last couple of weeks has begun to reset my axis. I am gaining hope and direction; embracing the coming changes whatever and wherever they might be. I find peace in the still again. The passion for running is burning bright within me again. Each run takes me deeper emotionally. I stripped away all of my races this year. I only have 2 events on the 2015 calendar with one holding any sort of goals.

I am beyond excited at the uncertainty ahead; it now holds promise. Professionally, I do not know where I will end up. These last few months gave rise to my desire to help people. That heart is what propelled me in the sciences and I will look at more direct impact career options in the final hours of this waiting room.

My sails are open. Let the wind blow.

Josh.

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