Monday, April 6, 2015

Adventure Quotient...and Ultrarunning

For lack of a better term, I've invented "Adventure Quotient."  Perhaps it's already been invented; I don't know.  Sometimes is hard as you get older to attribute ideas to brand new thoughts, versus "I must have read somewhere...."

At any rate, by Adventure Quotient I'm describing the notion of being up for new challenges, willingness to press the limits, being open to testing oneself.  In other words, the willingness to go to the edge.

For me, going to the edge and seeing what's there--physically and mentally--has always been the allure of this sport.

I've previously posted about the edge--which is a real space--here, saying:

This post is simply a plug for using the vehicle of a race to go to a place deep within yourself, a place on the edge where the vast mass of humanity never goes, and sadly, never even suspects is there. And so the measure of success in a race is not necessarily the time showing on the clock, or the distance run, the position placed, the medals, the ribbons, the certificates, or the camaraderie, fine as all those things may be. 
No, the true measure of success in a race is whether you did your best, and in giving your best, did you somehow approach that edge?  Did you flirt with that shadowy realm of total intensity, where vicariousness was abandoned for immersion?  Did you somehow sense that survival is not merely an abstract concept rendered quaintly obsolete by the veneer of civilization?

Anyway...back to my Adventure Quotient concept: if the edge is a place, then your Adventure Quotient is your willingness to try to go there.  And I see as I've gotten older that my willingness to put myself out there has dwindled.  Maybe it's not quite gone, but increasingly when offered the opportunity for a challenge, I tend to pass: it's too early, too far, we'd get back too late, I'm undertrained.

I guess I feel a bit wistful when I think about it, a kind of bittersweet feeling, realizing that I've figuratively passed the torch on to the next generation of Ultrarunners.  A man (or a woman) has got to know his/her limitations.

But...although my Adventure Quotient is low, it's not entirely vanished.  So I'm increasingly thinking of my adventures being on a smaller scale, but still adventures nonetheless.

So while I can no longer run like a 30-year-old, I certainly can run as a 63-year-old.  After all, intensity and adventure are relative....

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