Earlier this week I came across an entry by a fellow blogger that has stuck with me ever since. It is the truthful yet beautiful description of completing a task while recalling the steps it took to get there. While I advocate the read, in a nutshell, one simple exercise of retrieving a notebook turned into a lengthy process as we are prone to, as Steph notes, meandering en route to our outcome.
While the words resonated on a similar scale (sitting down to write this very article, for example), the piece drew a striking parallel with this year’s ultramarathon goals. Currently out on injury with no hint of when I’ll return to running, I see the kilometre targets scrawled in my weekly planner and have to remind myself to acknowledge, and then more importantly, to detach.
If training is the linear progression one seeks to achieve an outcome, then I am finding myself in the opposite thereof: breaking down each individual component so that I can begin to build them back up again. Numbers have since been replaced with questions; dynamic runs with static mental exercises; a monthly training schedule with a daily sense of inquiry.
I am in the act of untraining, one might even say: letting go of regiment, habits, and expectations so I can dig deeper into the fundamentals. Fundamentals that might set me back now, but will ultimately allow me to achieve an even greater outcome later.
The part of Steph’s article I particularly enjoyed was in the use of the word meander, which in my mind, is to reach a destination while exploring an alternative path without judgment or negative connotation. It distinctly holds its own against others, like distract, in which one strays off course inadvertently, or navigate, in which one aims to stay on course with all of their might.
While sometimes the meander is intentional, in others, it is completely out of our control.
In an era of instant gratification, it can be easy to lose sight of the long-term goal. But in the end, does path or timing matter? If the outcome is to remain the same, why are we so hard on ourselves if we diverge from the straight and narrow?
And so, with the Squamish 50 as my target, I will attempt to embrace this injury as an opportunity go exploring. It is simply part of my path to becoming an ultrarunner, just like I am on other paths to becoming a writer, an adventurer, a friend, a Bobbi.
Let’s never stop exploring.