Views of Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens on a training run w/ friends in 2011. Photo: Joe Grant
Circumnavigating Mt. Hood w/ some friends back in 2011. Photo: Joe Grant
Often times people ask why I run ultra marathons and put myself through the sometimes perceived self-afflicted misery. I remember being asked by one of my uncles in Morocco what I won for first place in a race many years ago. He looked at me very puzzled when I responded, “a belt buckle”! Trying to explain why we do what we do is very often difficult to articulate or put into words but I am sure it is the intrinsic rewards rather than the external or materialistic “prizes”. Training for a mountain 100-miler demands some serious commitment and time spent out deep in the wilderness getting used to the rigors that the actual event will bring. It is so much about the journey rather than the destination and I was able to draw on that a lot during my long run at Western States 100 last weekend. It reminded me of a card that my mother sent to me in 1996 when I decided that I was not going to attend college right after high school. I kept this card in a shoe box as I moved (sometimes wandering) from Florida to Pennsylvania to Colorado to New York over the span of nearly a decade. While living in New York I pulled the card out of the shoe box and pinned it to my bedroom wall because I love the message so much. I was reminded of the wise words just by glancing at the beautiful photos on the card every morning when I rose. In 2008 my wife surprised me and had it professionally framed and it still sits in my bedroom to this day. I thought that I would just like to share it with you all. It goes like this:
As you journey through life, choose your destinations well, but do not hurry there. You will arrive soon enough. Wander the back roads and forgotten paths, keeping your destination in your heart like the fixed point of a compass.
Seek out new voices, strange sights, and ideas foreign to your own. Such things are riches for the soul. And if, upon arrival, you find that your destination is not exactly as you had dreamed, do not be disappointed.
Think of all you would have missed but for the journey there, and know that the true worth of your travels lies not in where you come to be at journey’s end, but in who you come to be along the way.
The night before Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim at the Grand Canyon back in 2011.
(One of the many awesome training runs out in the mountains! Video by: Brian Donnelly)
Thanks, Mom, for being so open and supportive, and for giving me these great words of wisdom to live by. Enjoy the journey!