100 miles from nowhere… The dark side of ultra-running

I hadn’t felt pain or pleasure for so long, I climbed a mountain to find Hope and that’s where I found you. I didn’t know you were as broken as me, I just couldn’t see. From the moment I saw your eyes, I knew you might just be my prize.

The lying, the cheating, the mental beating… I just couldn’t run away from you. I knew what I was doing but blind to why. It was only in the end I was finally able to cry. I woke up in the middle of the night, just hoping to see the light. The numb of the darkness gave me all the answers I needed to know to finally let you go.

I had spent so long hoping, wishing, wandering through the highest mountains looking for answers to questions I didn’t know and in the end I found myself alone. I found my voice and my smile and most importantly, I found the best version of me in the process.

If it wasn’t for you, I might have reached my goals… but in the end, I would have missed the greatest lesson of my life. I watched you suffer on the longest runs through the darkest parts of yourself and in the end you stayed numb from the pain without any pleasure until you moved on toward the next starting line to a race you will never finish. Watching you fight a ghost on the trails was hard to see because ultimately it traced back to me.

You couldn’t smile in the best of times and no way you would break down and cry even when we had to die. The numb in your mind could have been changed on a dime if only you would have had the courage to look yourself in the eye. In the end, it didn’t matter what we said or did, running 100 miles was about our little kid. I watch you run away from a ghost that you seem to hate the most. It hurt to watch, it hurt to see but most of all I saw it all in me.

I watch the world hide behind their mask just to complete the 100 mile task. Many can feel the pain in their heel but many more call it the grind as they hide in the mind. It wasn’t until I stood back to observe that I saw the pain that we don’t deserve. The pain of numb follows us through the night as we hope and dream the pain will subside if we can just make it toward the light.

I watch as we hide the pain behind the buckles and medals that fill us for a short time. Until the attention fades away and the numbness rises again so we head back to the starting line to prove we’re not dead once again. I’ve look in the eyes of many as they would give anything to feel some emotion deep down inside just hoping to take the ride for as long as they can before returning back to the life they just want to hide.

Running 100 miles from nowhere might have led me somewhere I didn’t belong but in the end I found the way all the way back to me. From grinding my mind to hating my body to numbing the emptiness with women and whiskey, buckles and medals… I searched the highest highs and the lowest lows looking to end the pain but what I found was the food, the booze, the miles, the darkness was all a sign from the universe only I could see. The pain of numb led me to the only home I’ve ever known and all that was in my way was you. It was in losing you that led me through the pain all the way back to me where I am slowly learning to stay.

I want to feel… I want to heal… I want to be myself again… Having the courage and strength to step out of the dark and heal the feeling of pain has taught me more and more to live my own way. I watch many run all the way to nowhere just to wish they could run farther away from the pain that would heal them in their own way.

The sport of ultra-running is a great accomplishment of human endurance. The more I have the opportunity to work with people to understand why we are willing to pay hundreds and thousands of dollars to explore the physical limits of people, the more I understand the physical is a manifestation of what the human soul is longing for. Humans are designed to feel emotions, pain and pleasure in search of love and attention in a way they understand. One of the greatest untapped mines of life is the five inches between our ears and the metaphorical heart few can begin to truly understand.

When was the last time you stopped to understand why you do what you do?

Published by Gary Stotler

Gary Stotler is a father, running, fitness, weight loss and personal development addict. Formally 400 pounds, Gary has naturally lost 200 pounds, created a coaching & speaking business and has become a 100 mile ultra-runner. Holding a degree in Psychology & Sociology, certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a personal trainer, mindset & behavioral modification coaching, a certification in DISC personality assessment coaching and he is a certified speaker, coach & mentor with the John Maxwell Team. Gary firmly believes, if we take One Step at a Time, nothing is impossible. He is determined to let his actions show people what is possible and hopes to help you shake up your thoughts, change your actions and create your future.

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