A friend tagged me today with a link to a video about Errol "Rocket" Jones, Trail Running Elder titled The Pleasure and the Pain. The title of course got my attention--anything with trail running in the title does this, but the "Elder" part really tweaked my curiosity.
Errol is a 65 year old 100 miler in the San Francisco area, with several 100 mile finishes on his resume including the Grand Slam. (Vermont 100, Leadville 100, Western States, and Wasatch 100 in the same year.)
Like me, he is in a three-year drought in his finish rate, and is not at all happy about that but he's training hard to right the ship. Errol made the statement that he can't imagine life without running, but knows that that day is coming. In the meantime, he is embracing the suffering, because the pleasure is in the overcoming. This is truth.
Not to go overboard in my comparison to him, but I am disappointed, aggravated, disgusted with my running decline. A nagging knee injury has sucked my mojo away, but the "want-to" has never died. I truly miss running with my friends. I know there will be a day when running is over for me--but that time is not now. I'm happy to say that in the past few weeks, I have laced up my trail shoes and have trotted out a few runs. I am nearly giddy like a new runner--the excitement is back! Rubbing elbows with new trail running friends both new and old, has rekindled my desire. I've recommitted to getting fit, joined a couple of Facebook running and fitness groups, and have spent a few hours snooping my favorite 100-mile-menu. :-)
When will I be back on top of my game? I do not know, but the first wrung of the ladder is January 16 at Ouachita Switchbacks where I'll be doing the 25K-ish run with an army of my trail-running buddies. And my 100 this year, when I pick it out, will be one that I am confident I can finish. I agree to suffer to feel the joy of buckling.