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Inspiration Needed

Scott Jurek
Inspiration

Inspiration Needed

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.

My Connection

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!

Interior Design with Your Posterior in Mind

MAD Magazine
The bathroom is flush with essential supplies.

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

Why Aren’t You a Dewdrop?

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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”

Written By Some Perverty Bum

On the back of a pew in the balcony of a church

While I was walking up the stairs, though, all of a sudden I thought I was going to puke again. Only, I didn’t. I sat down for a second, and then I felt better. But while I was sitting down, I saw something that drove me crazy. Somebody’d written “Fuck you” on the wall. It drove me damn near crazy. I thought how Phoebe and all the other little kids would see it, and how they’d wonder what the hell it meant, and then finally some dirty kid would tell them – all cockeyed, naturally – what it meant, and how they’d all think about it and maybe even worry about it for a couple of days. I kept wanting to kill whoever’d written it I figured it was some perverty bum that’d sneaked in the school late at night to take a leak or something and then wrote it on the wall. I kept picturing myself catching him at it, and how I’d smash his head on the stone steps till he was good and goddam dead and bloody. But I knew, too, I wouldn’t have the guts to do it. That made me even more depressed. I hardly had the guts to rub it off the wall with my hand, if you want to know the truth. I was afraid some teacher would catch me rubbing it off and would think I’d written it. But I rubbed it out anyway, finally.
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I went down by a different staircase, and I saw another “Fuck you” on the wall. I tried to rub it off with my hand again, but this one was scratched on, with a knife or something. It wouldn’t come off. It’s hopeless, anyway. If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn’t rub out even half the “Fuck you” signs in the world. It’s impossible.
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I was the only one left in the tomb then. I sort of like it, in a way. It was so nice and peaceful. Then, all of a sudden, you’d never guess what I saw on the wall. Another “Fuck you.” It was written with a read crayon or something, right under the glass part of the wall, under the stones.

That’s the whole trouble. You can’t ever find a place that’s nice and peaceful, because there isn’t any. You may think there is, but once you get there, when you’re not looking, somebody’ll sneak up and write “Fuck you” right under your nose. Try it sometime. I think even, if I ever die, and they stick me in a cemetery, and I have a tombstone and all, it’ll say “Holden Caulfield” on it, and then what year I was born and what year I died, and then right under that it’ll say “Fuck you.” I’m positive, in fact.

Holden Caulfield in “The Catcher in the Rye,” Chapter 25