Thursday, January 20, 2011

Being Worn Out...and Ultrarunning

From the always good Writer's Almanac, this one from month ago.  I'm feeling a bit worn out by various externalities that are inexorably nibbling away at me and my mental energy.  I'm feeling that there always is something I should be doing. 

Nothing life-threatening going on, just a momentary lull here in the mid-winter.  I'm ready for a good dose of spring.

F. Scott Fitzgerald was worn down to a much greater extent, desperately so, and I am not equating his resignation with my much milder flatness.  But he sure could articulate that feeling of just being done in much better than I can:

After huge critical and commercial success in his 20s, Fitzgerald found himself in his mid-30s deep in debt and feeling depleted. He said: "A writer like me must have an utter confidence, an utter faith in his star. It's an almost mystical feeling, a feeling of nothing-can-happen-to me, nothing-can-touch-me. … I once had it. But through a series of blows, many of them my own fault, something happened to that sense of immunity and I lost my grip." He said, "One blow after another and finally something snapped."

--SNIP--

He wrote: "I began to realize that for two years my life had been a drawing on resources that I did not possess, that I had been mortgaging myself physically and spiritually up to the hilt." He'd "cracked like an old plate." He said: "Of course all life is a process of breaking down, but the blows that do the dramatic side of the work—the big sudden blows that come, or seem to come, from outside— the ones you remember and blame things on and, in moments of weakness, tell your friends about, don't show their effect all at once.

There is another sort of blow that comes from within—that you don't feel until it's too late to do anything about it, until you realize with finality that in some regard you will never be as good a man again. The first sort of breakage seems to happen quick—the second kind happens almost without your knowing it but is realized suddenly indeed."

Now, this gonna sound hokey.  But when life is grinding you down, you go for a run.  Not just any run, but the run, the one that's special to you, the trail or course that always puts a smile on your face, the one that always pleases, the one you reserve for special times.

Yesterday a buddy and I ran on the C + O Canal in MD, of JFK 50 miler fame.  This is one of my rejuvination spots.

We started at daybreak and were alone on the trail.  No critters such as wild turkeys or deer--the snow remnants were too crunchy and noisy--but we spotted a raft of waterfowl at various spots in the Potomac River, and a couple of Great Blue Herons.

They seemed happy doing their bird things.  And suddenly I found a smile on my face too.

 

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