Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Concept #3: Adaptation

When you've been around the proverbial block a few times like Tommy Terrific, there are things you learn along the way.

One important factor in the emotional and psychological realm is the ability to be adaptable on long ultra runs.

There are always opportunities to regroup, reform, and to forge ahead. A few examples are:

If you are sick and nauseous...vomit.

If you're leg succumbs to a lightning-like shooting pain...alter your stride.

If you think you're about to pass from this world into the next...realize it's temporary and refer to concepts #1 and #2 below.

There is always a route from darkness to light. If you are a seasoned endurance athlete, epic challenges have crossed your path before and in most all cases you have found ways to overcome.

I remember starting the Mohican 100 mile many years ago. Some dude from Seattle came all the way to Ohio for the race and started talking trash from almost the first mile. It was about pace and intake and salt and most every other topic I really didn't care to hear about.

The same individual was later seen wrapped in a garbage bag, laying on the asphalt at the Covered Bridge checkpoint, almost as if he had been swept up and was waiting for the garbage truck to come and haul him away.

"I'm just having a moment," said the almost-expired character. "I'll be OK and ready to go in a bit."

I never did find out what happened to mister-know-it-all.

But it was clear to me that there have been dozens of races and events and experiences along my path. And in the end, adaptation kept me out of a garbage bag and got me to the finish line almost every time.

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