Sunday, October 2, 2016

Breaking Radio Silence

photo by Neil Zeller
This morning I woke up after 8 hours sleep feeling lethargic and wanting another 4. Making pancakes for the troops, watching the Blue Jays final game of the season then bringing the family over to my parents place over for a Sunday dinner all the time not thinking about running. Truth is the idea of going out for a run disgusts me.

Four months ago I stepped on a treadmill, 24 hours later I stepped off after running 260.4 km setting a new Guinness world record. Aside from my wedding day and the birth of my three children it was the greatest day of my life yet the psychological depths I needed to unearth still shake me to this day. 

The treadmill was a public stage for us at MitoCanada to show the public just how far we will go to find a cure for Mitochondrial disease. In my mind we divide the groups into two, the first were the teams of twelve men and women representing the relentless push of the community of caring hearts all connected with the single purpose and drive. This was evident when I looked to my right and watched those warriors giving it all thirty minutes at a time. A thirty minute run isn't much but running at a fast pace and linked 48 times over, the results were spectacular and awe inspiring. The other group were Bernadette, Arielle, and myself  embodying the mission to never give up even when the finish line seemed endlessly far. Witnessing Arielle and Bernadette's drive and unwillingness to quit arose a feeling of hope and inspiration. This only fueled my drive and conviction to not quit. By noon on the Saturday I had been running for 20 hours and just surpassed the 220 km mark. Anybody who has ever run a 24 hour race will know too well that is the witching hour; the time you look to the east for the sun to rise, sink into your battle mode and mentally prepare for the gorilla to jump on your back. Desperately I tried to sink into my common meditative state. I have been told that when I am in my flow state I look very relaxed and will hold my eyelids closed when I blink for a second or two, but this never happened on that treadmill. In this unfamiliar place with these unfamiliar people feeling entrapped on this hamster wheel and like a prisoner in solidarity confinement been given the freedom of staring at my one meter patch of concrete ahead of me which is now blocked by the endless wall of spectators I started to become unglued. 

photo by Neil Zeller
Since the MitoTreadmill event in late May I have had two failed races. Every morning I'd wake hoping to find the desire to lace up my shoes and enjoy the activity that has given me tremendous joy all my life. It's been exhausting pretending that I am feeling great and I apologize to everyone telling them that I feel back to normal. Trouble is my identity has now been hijacked and I feel uncomfortable with the guy now who doesn't give a shit about running. 

photo by Neil Zeller
Recently I have been enjoying getting out with my ten year old daughter for short jogs in the evening; quite possibly a turning point. My race schedule is confirmed for next year and plans are in the making with MitoCanada for another HUGE event continues because I believe in the old saying "This too shall pass".  I'll be writing a lot less this season as I really don't have much to report but if I do you will be the first to read about it. 
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