Author Jeff Kozak
As ultrarunners, naturally we love to run. Unfortunately, this enthusiasm for the primal act of running, and its Dr. Feelgood of Fitness-endorphin-effect is often not tempered enough by sensibility. More is only better to a certain point; then the law of diminishing returns kicks in.
Seeing some of the Golden Hour finishers I had assisted in some small way successfully complete their journey to Auburn was a pinnacle moment for me after two decades of ultrarunning. There always will be, no matter how mainstream this sport goes, the nowhere-near-first multitudes comprising the heart of Ultra quietly grinding it out for the simple satisfaction of proving to themselves they could do it.
A cornerstone of being in the zone is freedom from expectations. Expectations are projections into the future, based on the past. They are not in the moment. The present moment is a heady place to be. But that is the only place we will ever find the zone, ever find the fleeting feelings of freedom; on the run, or anywhere.
For those of you, like myself, who are potentially facing triple digit temperatures to match a triple digit race distance, here are some things to consider to keep your ‘A’ goals from evaporating.
I began mentally rewriting song lyrics as a way to pass the miles, entertain myself, and poke a little fun at the absurdities and idiosyncrasies I see within the subculture of this sport I love.
To remember the past is to respect it. Even the most independent of us in this most independent-at-times of sports, do not live in a bubble of rugged individualism feeding the fire of progression alone. We are all interconnected, and we all need each other.
In the modern world, decisions on what to eat and drink and when, can be as confusing as they are convenient.
Was it really possible in the modern world to use the feet more than fossil fuels to get around? It sounded like a life adventure worthy of an attempt and, as a longtime ultra runner, Phil Kiddoo had always thought it somewhat ridiculous how many miles he drove simply to go for runs.
The urban dictionary defines “more cowbell” as ‘an extra quality that will make something or someone better.’ My raceday cowbell was patience, and I needed a lot more of it, especially to see those changes through, even when they appeared to be ineffective midrace. We all have a cowbell we need more of in order to progress in running, and in life. What is yours?
I have known Krissy, Hal, and numerous others through the sport, for many years, but the totality of our interactions would likely barely rate ‘acquaintance’ status in most other walks of life. Yet somehow whenever the trails of our lives do intersect, that limited time spent at the junction yields a sum of experience much greater than the timepieces would seem capable of producing.
The line of ultrarunners that have come forward over the years to speak openly about their battles with depression is long and illustrious; and that darkness is often confusing when held against the light of their accomplishments and the boundless energy and enthusiasm permeating this sport. And it is impossible to ignore the implications; it seems no kind or amount of success or communal recognition affords illimitable immunity.
We’re all essentially on David Byrne’s road to nowhere, often wondering, ‘How did I get here?’ A choose your own adventure novel where we’re constantly being forced to decide which page to turn to before continuing a story of which we desperately want to sneak a final paragraph peek.