Tucked away within a box of elephant knick knacks – it was an old Pop-Tarts box, frosted blueberry – I found this little book. It’s got to be at least 10 years-old, probably more. I’m not sure which one of my kids wrote it. But I have a pretty good idea. She’s a very creative child, who is no longer a child. Even if she was bored when she made this, she was creative with her boredom. Now I have immortalized it on the internet. “So if you do not want to read about nothing… I suggest you browse a different website.”
Given that my level of physical activity has been so long for too long, as I wrote about yesterday, I felt in need of a book to read that would inspire me to get motivated and pick up the pace, especially in light of a 25K trail race on my horizon in April.
The first book that came to mind was North by Scott Jurek. The first reason this book is an inspiration is that Scott Jurek himself is an inspiration. Just look at some of these accomplishments:
- Appalachian Trail Speed Record: 46 days, 8 hours, and 7 minutes: 2,189 miles – 2015
- U.S. record for 24-hour road run: 165.7 miles – 2010
- 7 x consecutive winner of the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run – 1999-2005
- 2 x consecutive winner of the 135 mile Badwater Ultramarathon – 2005, 2006
- 3 x consecutive winner Spartathlon 152 miles-Athens to Sparta, Greece – 2006-2008
That should be more than enough inspiration for any runner. Much more is listed on his website at www.scottjurek.com/about-scott.
The second reason that this book is an inspiration to me is due to my long connection with the Appalachian Trail. I remember dreaming about hiking the whole trail as a kid before I ever set foot on it. It’s still a dream, but in reality my experience of the trail is limited to several miles in New Jersey and Pennsylvania on either side of the Delaware Water Gap. Even so, there is a certain magic I feel when I’m on the Appalachian Trail, a sense that if I really wanted to, I could keep going for hundreds of miles in either direction. I remember when Scott ran the trail in 2015. I followed him on social media. I regretted not being able to be at the Delaware Water Gap when he crossed into New Jersey. I read North when it came out in 2018. I laughed. I wept. I ran more. I’m trusting it will have the same effect on me on my second read.
Read more of my Appalachian Trail related posts at this link.
A Sign from the Running Gods?
So, I pulled North of the shelf. How should I break down the pages to finish before the Hyner Challenge in April? What about a chapter per week starting tomorrow, Saturday, January 2? Let me check the number of chapters: 17. What is the date of the race? Saturday, April 24. Let’s see how many Saturdays there are between now and then. January 30 will be 5. February 27 will be 9. March 27 will be 13. April 24… race day… will be… 17! No way! 17 Saturdays! 17 chapters! Finishing the last chapter on the day of the race! Perfect!
God help me run!
As we steadily make progress in organizing and decorating our new home, I have found a few old treasures that have been packed away for years. Among them was this old turd. They say, if you haven’t used something in a number of years, you obviously don’t need it. You should just throw it away. Well, wipe that thought right out of your mind and can it! This BM (beautiful manual1) of humor should be plopped right where all can see it. So with one smooth movement I took it from the bowels of a musty box to a place of honor, from the anals of forgotten history to a shelf above the throne. I, for one, am relieved that I have done my doodie by not letting this tome go to waste.
1. Deffy, Kate, A Useless Guide to Fake Acronyms; (semicolon) 2020, Fekal Publishing, LLC
Look into the eyes of your beloved and ask deeply, “Who are you, my love, who has come to me and taken my suffering as your suffering, my happiness as your happiness, my life and death as your life and death? Who are you whose self has become my self? Why aren’t you a dewdrop, a butterfly, a bird, a pine tree?” Ask with your whole body and mind. Later, you will have to ask the person who causes you the most suffering the same questions: “Who are you who brings me such pain, who makes me feel so much anger and hatred?” To understand, you have to become one with your beloved, and also one with your so-called enemy. You have to worry about what they worry about, suffer their suffering, appreciate what they appreciate. You and the object of your love cannot be two. They are as much you as you are yourself.
Continue until you see yourself in the cruelest person on Earth, in the child starving, in the political prisoner. Practice until you recognize yourself in everyone in the supermarket, on the street corner, in a concentration camp, on a leaf, in a dewdrop. Meditate until you see yourself in a speck of dust in a distant galaxy. See and listen with the whole of your being. If you are fully present, the rain of the Dharma will water the deepest seeds in your store consciousness, and tomorrow, while you are washing the dishes or looking at the blue sky, that seed will spring forth, and love and understanding will appear as a beautiful flower.
-Thich Nhat Hanh
“Teachings on Love”
“Mindfulness is the energy that allows us to look deeply at our body, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness and see clearly what our real needs are, so we will not drown in the sea of suffering.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh
“Teachings on Love”