Monday, August 14, 2006

Profile of a Long Day

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Check out the Ascent numbers, or feet climbed - 5040. I also burned 7,341 calories. Over nine hours and thirty-six minutes.

The beer afterwards, nectar.

The steak and potatoes, glorious.

Two days later, my feet still hurt. But no blisters. Just bruises from rocks.

I must admit that the past three months have taken a lot more out of me than I thought, nay, that I'm loathe to admit. I'd never fallen before in a trail race - tripped many times before of course - but always managed to recover before I kissed dirt. This past Saturday I just didn't have the leg strength, or quickness to keep from eating gravel after a few hours. I bloodied and banged up both knees and an elbow. One knee is particularly bad.

The last two hours the only reason I could continue was not to let down, or slow down, any of the group I was running with. On my own, I seriously would have considered dropping out at the last Aide Station after about seven and a half hours.

Now I just want to go to Bordeaux and the south of France and ease through the Medoc Marathon. I have a few more test results to come, and honestly, I think my competitive fires have been banked for a while.

I can't imagine what kind of training I would have to do to get back to my form this Spring. The idea of doing an Ironman next year seems to have fizzled. It no longer holds the allure it did just a few months ago.

AND having to lose twenty-five pounds to get into fighting trim...

But God it was beautiful out there on the trails, in the mountains, with good friends and views over valleys that took your breath away.

Appreciate what you have.

Remorse, but no regrets...


Blogger Lora said...

Well....for whatever it's worth...I'm damn impressed!

Call me crazy...but I believe next spring will bring us a whole new Vince! Just buckle up thru the rough times.

1:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn Straight Lora.

Vince, you lovable crazy idiot.

You ran two marathons during your treatment and less than three weeks AFTER 45 DAYS of chemo therapy you run a forty mile Ultra through the mountains that nearly took you ten hours!?!

Why are you doing this?

What do you expect from yourself?

What are you trying to prove?

1:36:00 PM  
Blogger Vince Hemingson said...

Let's start from the bottom and work our way backwards.

I don't think I'm trying to prove anything.

I am long since past that point.

I am too old and too slow.

According to a good friend, I really have no choice in my "No Surrender, No Retreat" approach to life.

I am just hard-wired that way.

It is who I am.

It causes me no small amount of grief, I assure you. It makes me Hell to live with. It drives my friends crazy. Let alone women. It is why I am alone.

Listen, I'm so full of shit in most instances, that it terrifies me.

I make my way through life with charm and bullshit, smoke and mirrors, sleight of hand and black magic.

My Boston or Bust Blog and my running may be the one place where I am as honest as I am ever going to be.

And it's not like I do it for the fucking readers.


I think I owe it to myself as a writer.

Or at least what's left of one.

And I need to be the same way in my running.

I have no real talent or gifts as an endurance athlete. None.

The only thing I bring to the table are a minimal modicum of smarts, a little animal cunning and a rather absurd capacity to withstand and absorb an amazing amount of punishment.

And heart.

And commitment.

It's all about commitment, Baby.

Pain is my friend.

I do this because I love it.

Because it helps me keep my sanity.

And if my body is a temple - albeit an incredibly neglected and abused one - this is as close as I can come to being spiritual. And let me tell you, I have been on some interesting spiritual journies.

And my expectations of myself are that I would give nothing less than everything I have.

Less than that is not acceptable.

Intellectually or physically.

Otherwise, what is the point?

And why am I doing this?

I'm not sure I know.

I really don't.

But I do know that there are few other things - if anything - that make me feel so alive, and connected to the world, and aware of my smallness and utter insignificance, and aware of the limits of my body, and give me a lens through which to truly appreciate the splendour and grandeur of the Universe. It humbles me and keeps my ego in check. It simplifies my life. It is one of the few things I do that have a sense of purpose.

And if you are not grabbing on to life with both hands and squeezing all the juice and marrow out of it that you, why are you bothering to draw a breath?

2:33:00 PM  

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