“Why live a life that’s perceived as mad?” #QuestionMadness
*This post was inspired by The North Face as they celebrate their 50th Anniversary and they are asking all outdoor enthusiasts to #QuestionMadness. I am writing this post as a TNFLOCALS Ambassdor.
Why live a life that’s perceived as mad? Is it madness or drive that get you to do the things that you do. Most people think I am crazy because of some of the athletic pursuits that I have had in my life. It is is madness, it is the best kind and it is what keeps me alive and happy and feeling fulfilled.\
Imagine yourself in a freezing cold ice rink in the early hours of the morning with your ice skates laced up. You take the ice with your scribe in hand (essentially a compass to create figure eights on the ice). You carefully take the scribe out of your bag and draw identical circles in the form of an eight or a serpentine in varying sizes. After setting the scribe down you begin your quiet and focused practice of repetition to perfect your figures. You are a young child who finds the focus to be calming and yet exhilarating. It’s the drive to be the best that pushes you onward, to earn the next ribbon or perhaps to claim the coveted gold medal in competition.
Imagine yourself with eight other women. It’s a cold and dark morning in late February in Maine. The lake is still frozen so for now as long as the stream is open you will row. You arrive with your teammates and get right to the business of carrying your oars down to the launch area and then up coxswain command all eight rowers swing the 64 foot shell up and overhead and walk out onto the floating dock. You are all barefoot, spandex rolled up to your knees for as you step on the floating dock it sinks slightly into the water covering your toes and ankles with ice cold water. No one complains. This is what you do. In one swift motion all eight gently set the shell down into the water upon command get in and shove off the dock. Practice begins, the blades of the oars cracking a thin layer of ice as each blade dips in. Steam lifts off the water as the sun beings to raise a little higher in the sky. 8 bodies swinging in unison with the “huck-shaaa” sounds of each oar turning in the oarlock. It’s not madness. It’s power, strength, skill, and fierce determination in each stroke. This is what fuels the practice.
Imagine yourself on a single track trail on a mountain in Utah. This is only your second trail marathon and unlike the previous one this one is at a much higher altitude and a wilderness that is unfamiliar to you. You had the chance to go on this adventure so you leapt and you embraced the challenge. Those miles were filled with smiles from ear to ear with scenery more breathtaking around each corner. You cheered other runners as they passed you and you encouraged others to keep going. You were challenged on the mountain by faster women and marveled at their strength and agility as they nimbly navigated down rocky trail. Yes, the endorphins were amazing but there is just that something about pushing your body to see just how far it can go. This race takes you more then 5 hours but when you are finished your soul is fueled and your heart is happy because you achieved what you set out to do, you finished!!!
I have always been chasing the feeling of accomplishment that comes through sport. It is not madness and being crazy that gets me to do the things that I do. I am driven by the desire to achieve my goals. I want to see what is possible. Sports and outdoor exploration has brought me so much joy and also constantly challenges me in who I am. When a goal has been set I am not satisfied until I have chased it down and this means even getting out there in sub zero temperatures to run up and down mountains or running 20 miles in the snow where you long for the feeling to return to your fingertips.
Why live a life that’s perceived as mad . . . because it feeds my soul and it has become who I am!
What is the craziest thing you have ever done in sport? Do others think it is madness?