Sunday, September 2, 2018

I Ate His Liver

I'd like to clarify, mostly for my own sake, why this website exists.

I started Breaking 'Burbs for one reason, and it's the same reason I do pretty much everything: my friends were doing it. People I admire were doing it. It seemed like the cool thing to do.

Sure, my claim is that I wanted to chronicle my ultra-running adventures. And I'm enjoying that aspect of it. But let's look at the tape:
Hannibal Lecter: He covets. That is his nature. And how do we begin to covet, Clarice? Do we seek out things to covet? Make an effort to answer now. 
Clarice Starling: No. We just... 
Hannibal Lecter: No. We begin by coveting what we see every day.
As an aspiring ultra-runner, I was digesting a lot of media. YouTube videos, podcasts, books...pretty much anything I could get my hands on. And some of the best stories were firsthand accounts from the runners themselves. They were pouring their hearts out for the world to see, and many of them were doing so in my personal favorite venue: the blog. I was fascinated.

So I came here to do the same, to tell my story, in hopes that it would make me feel "more legit." But a funny thing happened. As this silly little blog of mine progressed over the years, it became a dumping ground for race reports and monthly running statistics. Many professional trail runners seemed to be doing that, so I did my best to imitate them.

There was just one problem: this model implies that the value of what I do lies in how often I run. How fast I can go. How much insane vert I can log. And if that's the value in running...then I'm boned. You're looking at a slow dude with short legs and not a whole lot of free time to spend weeks getting lost in the high country. There's no way that I can measure up to the stats of the pros. Not even close. Not even sorta.

So I wind up with a digital hangover more often than not. "Shit, I only logged 20 miles this week. I suck, and everyone is laughing at me and calling me a phony. Better drown my mediocrity with all the pizza."

Not a great place to be, mentally speaking.

But as I continue to carve out my little corner in this crazy sport, I'm discovering that there is still value in what I do despite my pedestrian numbers. I have to opportunity to explore breathtaking scenery here in Colorado. The landscape widens my eyes and gives me clarity in its humbling grandeur. The mountains teach me something new about myself and my place in the universe every single time I take to the trail. These things have real value, and I'm taking them to the bank.

And there is even more to learn through struggle. Grinding my way to a painful finish at North Fork 50 this June was transformative in a way that only comes with digging deep, hitting impenetrable bedrock, and then continuing to dig anyway. If we're talking ultra statistics, there's nothing impressive with a 13-hour finish at an event that boasts a mere 6,700 ft of vert over smooth single track, but I'm super proud of my effort there nonetheless.

So no more monthly statistics posts. Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely still motivated by growing and improving on those fronts. That data will live on in my own personal spreadsheet. If you're still curious about the nitty gritty details of my daily grind, you can visit the link to my Strava profile. But you won't find numbers here. Let's use this arena to focus on words.

Everything you need to find him is there in those pages.

JVB

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