My running partner Joanna gave me a going away gift last evening. It's a DVD documentary of three individuals who ran across the entire length of the Sahara desert.
This saga generated chaos on many fronts. The journey was to take 80 days, and eventually took over 100; tempers flared and key crew members had to opt out as the weeks dragged on. But in the end these three adventurers slogged through about 50 miles a day - every day - and finished the trek.
But not all is well with the world. I felt the narcissistic pull of egocentrism that can plague the hearts of ambitious endurance athletes. It can become all about you and the goal, with little recognition or acknowledgment for loved ones around you. In an opening scene in the documentary, one of the runners is enjoying life at home with his girlfriend and two sons. His girlfriend makes several journeys to visit him on the run. But what of the boys and a four month separation from their father?
Many years ago, I was pulling my bike off the rack for a long weekend ride. My (now former) wife came out to the garage and stated "you have a very selfish hobby."
That rang true then and still rings true today. Ultra endurance sport can consume vast amounts of time and energy and sometimes leaves little in its wake for other aspects in our lives.
Be careful, my ultra endurance comrades. Let's find balance and invest in those who mean the most to us.