Friday, September 10, 2004

More flip flops than John Kerry

Just kidding! I'm a Democrat (actually I'm left of the Democrats) but I'm not a big fan of Kerry. I do think the charge of flip flopping is unfair (considering how much the world has changed in 30 years, I would expect someone's views to change).

Anyway, this isn't a political post. I'm doing the 50 mile ultra in Kansas. I know, I know, I said I wasn't. I've been struggling with my goals and my purpose lately. Not in a bad way--struggling is probably not the best word. Exploring, considering, pondering, wondering, hoping. What I've finally decided, for the time being, is this:

1. I like being outdoors, I like trails, I like the variability and unpredictability of trail walking.
2. I want to be outdoors for longer periods. I don't like short races.
3. I want to explore other outdoor/endurance activities, such as fast packing/ultralight backpacking. I want to do some of these activities with my daughter.
4. I want to forget about pace, time, ranking, etc. I want to get outside and move and enjoy it.

So I decided to go ahead and go to Kansas and put my ass on the trail and see what happens. I'm not going to do the 24 hour track race. I'm going to focus on trails, some ultras and some shorter distances, and I'm going to learn about hiking, backpacking, primitive camping, fastpacking, etc. I'm a city boy. I don't know anything about the outdoors or survival or camping. But I want to know. I want to walk away from the world for several days with just a pack on my back. I want to introduce my daughter to a world beyond cars and concrete and work. I know this all sounds weird and hopelessly romantic, but this is what is inside of me right now. I'd like to go on some exciting adventure with my daughter when she is older, like hiking the Appalachian Trail or hiking in some remote spot overseas or something else crazy and adventurous!

So my plan is to race in the Heartland/Spirit of the Prairie 50 mile race on October 9th. I've also signed up for the Rock Ledge Rumble, a 25k trail race here in the Dallas area. After that I don't know what I'll do, and I don't care. I will probably explore more of the local trails and spend some time just enjoying the outdoors and my own movement. I just want to have fun, to feel fit and to feel challenged.

Thanks to everyone for their recent suggestions and support. I'm excited!

Coincidentally, I made this decision yesterday and booked a hotel. Today in the mail I got my race packet. I feel like everything is meant to be. Our hotel is in El Dorado, which is mentioned in one of my favorite poems ("Wichita Vortex Sutra" by Allen Ginsberg) which was then made into one of my favorite musical works (the poem read by Ginsberg himself with piano accompaniment by Philip Glass). Here's a good excerpt (curse blogger for removing the formatting!):

Let the States tremble,
let the Nation weep,
let Congress legislate its own delight
let the President execute his own desire -
this Act done by my own voice,
nameless Mystery -
published to my own senses,
blissfully received by my own form
approved with pleasure by my sensations
manifestation of my very thought
accomplished in my own imagination
all realms within my consciousness fulfilled
60 miles from Wichita
near El Dorado,
The Golden One,
in chill earthly mist
houseless brown farmland plains rolling heavenward
in every direction
one midwinter afternoon Sunday called the day of the Lord -
Pure Spring Water gathered in one tower
where Florence is
set on a hill,
stop for tea & gas