As I ramp up my marathon training, I thought I’d share with you a quote sent to me by my friend Tim Crowley, a property developer in New York City:
I am reading ‘War’ by Sebastian Junger (the guy who wrote the perfect storm). The book is about the US Marine Corp in Afghanistan. Anyway, great quote about being in that environment with full combat clothing and gear and having to march on and fight on while physically exhausted in 115 degree heat. I thought it was something pretty amazing to remind oneself while getting ready to run NYC in November.
“You slow down the group while on patrol, the enemy has time to get into position and then someone gets shot. Trying to imagine being the cause of that scenario was like trying to imagine crashing in a Chinook: at some point my mind just refused to participate in the experiment. I reassured myself with the thought that I was twice the age of the soldiers, but carried half the weight they did, so in some ways it was a fair fight. I also ran track and cross-country in college, and twenty five years later, I still remembered how to negotiate the long, horrible process of physical collapse. It starts with pain, of course, but that pain is at the edge of what I thought of as a deep, dark valley. At the bottom of the valley is true incapacitation, but it might take hours to get down there, working your way through strata of misery and dissociation until your muscles simply stop obeying and your mind can’t even be trusted to give commands that make sense. The most valuable thing I knew from all that running was that when you start hurting you’re not even close to the bottom of the valley, and that if you don’t panic at the first agonies there’s much, much, much more of yourself to give.”