Starting July 1st, after my last day of work, I am going to do something that I’ve always wanted to do. Train, as an athlete, full time. I have always been intrigued by the idea of living like a full time athlete and understand what exactly that entails. It is not my intention nor do I have any ambitions to become a professional athlete. I’m not trying to be anyone other than myself, just Spencer. I simply want to see how far and how hard I can increase my physical and mental capacity.
The timing of this change in lifestyle works coincidentally with my first attempt at running a race of the one hundred mile distance, known as The Pine to Palm 100 in Ashland, OR, in September. In light of this upcoming event, I’ve mapped out a pretty intense training plan… certainly more concentrated than I’ve ever experienced before. Previous to The Pine to Palm race, I am most looking forward to spending July and August travelling around the state. With the little money I have saved, I want to run, camp out and absorb the freshness of unexplored territory. So, get ready Oregon friends, I might be reaching out for a couch to sleep on when my sleeping bag gets uncomfortable!
During this extended vacation, I also aim to look at my ego. I’ve been taking in a heavy dose of Eckhart Tolle lately, reading his concept of how the ego, the mind and the subconscious play a role in our daily lives. And thinking about how his theories apply especially to my case as a recovering alcoholic. In relation to my experience at Western States Camp a few weeks ago, I still yearn to examine the constant narratives that occupy my head on a regular basis. Through the impending and seemingly endless miles of running that July and August will offer, I am excited to see how this self-realization progresses.
One issue that I’ve come to realize is that I have trouble with my physical body image. From an outsider’s point of view, this must sound ridiculous; but, believe me, for years, I have mildly obsessed over body image and weight. I don’t know where this obsession came from nor its root, but I know it is there. I can say, however, that the first time I noticed someone commenting on my weight was in college after I went from a Division 1 XC Ski racer to a drunken frat boy. I remember my buddy, Todd, pointing out the beer gut that I acquired during my senior year after I had quit ski racing. Ever since that moment, in 2001, I have been conscious of my weight and it has bothered me as recently as 2007, when I reached 230 pounds, my normal weight being around 170. Maybe insecurity about my weight will always exist… maybe not. But, I have a hunch after doing a little internal research that the body image issue may be tied to the bouts I have with my ego…we’ll see. I’m excited not only to have recognized this difficulty but also to look more deeply into my awareness of it.
I understand that I’m taking a bit of a physical risk by attempting to train as much as I plan on training. I know that recovery, nutrition, and the conscious maintenance of my overall health will be vital to the intended success of this July and August. To me, the risk is worth it, because now more than ever I am in a place physically to really see how far I can go. My not knowing the eventuality of how my body will react and adapt to more training than I am less accustomed to will be an adventure in and of itself, as well as an unquestionable learning experience. I am more focused on the process than the outcome anyway. Who knows, I may completely blow up come August and be shot for Pine to Palm or I may be more fit than I ever thought possible. Either way, I am ready to go.
Edited by Lyn Horton