Trying to approach life like I do a hard race

May 31, 2013
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Dear Max

No end-of-May blog could exist without at least one post about Comrades, and I’ve written about it for the last two years here and here, and I’m likely to write it about it over and over.

While I sit here kakking myself for Sunday, I’m trying to go through in my head what the day will be about. And the more I think about it, the more terrified I get. I know it will be hard, and that’s all that matters, and that’s enough. Trying to remember every hill and every ache and obstacle I’ve ever faced at Comrades, or worrying about everything that could happen on the day, is simply not useful.

And interestingly, that it will be hard and about suffering is a basic Buddhism “truth”. Not necessarily Comrades only, but life. It is not meant to be a pessimistic outlook (eg “I expect tomorrow to be bad”), but rather a realistic one (eg “Life is full of tough stuff and hardships).

I’ve been feeling a bit pessimistic lately, and a little like I’m going through more “hardship” than I can manage. And what does one do when that happens? Well, aside from trying to see the wood for the trees (not easy when you’re feeling too foggy to see much at all), I’ll do what I do when I’m in a hard race – take it step by step, without fearing the 100 steps after, and know that the hard stuff will pass.

It’s so hard to do when you’re hurting, and I’m pretty sure there will be tears of physical pain (and regret) on Sunday, but I’m yet to run a whole 89km like that – there will be smiles, there will be fun, there will be light, and there will be someone on the side of the road offering me support just when I need it.

So I don’t know when or where the tough parts will strike, just like day-to-day we can’t foresee the punches and slides. All we know is that it will be tough, and that’s okay – it has to be. Which of course is easy for me to say to now when my feet are up and I’m sitting with a cup of coffee, but this has got to see me through. The only way out is through, they say.

I will miss you so much for the 48 hours I’m away. I can’t wait to see you as I hobble to fetch you from Be Sharp Beetles on Monday.

Yours in hills, valleys and troughs,



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