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May Misogi. Choosing hard?


Another month down so let's dive in.

It seems I've hit somewhat of a writer's block, so let's see where this one goes. I've grown a little slack with my journaling; perhaps it's simply being busy, or maybe it's the fact that life has been feeling pretty good. I tend to be laissez-faire with certain things, and like many other people, I'm guilty of only taking action when there is a deep drive for it. A healthy person has a hundred problems but a sick person has only one right? Suddenly when faced with ones own mortality (sorry to be dramatic), annoying old Brian (or Karen) at the office doesn't seem so bad. When things are good, it's easy to neglect the key habits that got you there in the first place, but it's important to keep disciplined. Prioritise and execute. Stay the course. I heard a great quote on the Jay Shetty podcast awhile back: "When things are going bad, work hard. When things are going well, work even harder." That struck a chord with me, as things generally do when you're guilty and you know it.

Anyway that's a very wordy and extra way of saying that I've been slack. Journaling regularly forms the foundation of thought for these monthly blogs, develops my tone and for me at least, it gives structure to my otherwise chaotic mind, allowing themes to slowly emerge. Having these regular entries, helps guide not only my monthly writing, but also my day.

Global Run Day x Lululemon. I had the honour of shooting this event for the Public Runners x Lululemon Mount Maunganui crew. She was a foggy one!

So, what was my May Misogi and what thoughts emerged?

Originally, I had quite a few thoughts around the concept of inspiration however as the month progressed, I found myself thinking about "The Hard." Like previous months, this theme emerged via conversation with a friend, who simply asked "why." Why did I want to do hard things and tough physical events? Why did I purposely want to suffer?

My answer was probably somewhat lacklustre; truth be told there were a few reasons, including a potential pre-midlife crisis but it got me thinking. How come?

Before I delve into the how comes, I've got a goal this year to complete my first ever ultra-marathon. I've entered so it's all go now! I've never even done a 5km fun run, a 10km or a half marathon let alone an ultra, but let's see what this old body can do!

It's official!! First ever Ultramarathon coming soon.


Enduring pain and finding limits. Who am I?

3 years ago, I rowed 100km in a single sitting from the comfort of my garage. I can't remember the exact time but it was around the 8 hour and 30 minute mark. That was my first real endurance test where I really wondered if I would be able to finish. Life at that time was already rather messy and little did I know, that was the beginning of what would become a challenging couple of years. I wish I could say that this unlocked a new level within, however, the excuses piled up and things got the better of me.

Despite this set back, the desire and urge to test my mettle never left and this year it's back stronger than ever. I could be wrong, but deep down I believe all humans have this innate urge or desire to find out what they're capable of; how much pain and discomfort can we endure and where are our limits? Some people would disagree with that statement, but perhaps that urge is buried so deep that we've forgotten it even exists. The routine of life has a way of dulling our senses. We all know someone who's done some pretty outrageous things -- it doesn't just have to be physical either. Perhaps it's back-packing for months on end through some remote places or volunteering in a third world country. I can't speak for everyone, but there are certain people that I just look at and think, "wow." What a fucking savage, I wish I could do that. The question then becomes, why not? Why do we shut ourselves down before we even begin?

How much pain can we endure and where are our limits?

It's easy to throw around cliches like "Life is short; make the most of it" or "You only live once," but how many of us truly embody those statements? I know I sure don't. Before long, life gets busy, fucking up our plans for greatness, and again, we find ourselves on the sidelines. When you're deep in the pain, cramping, and questioning your sanity, you'll find the answers (says those who have gone before me). You'll realise that you're capable of so much more than you ever thought, and even if you don't finish, you still won because you showed up. The fact that you tried is what matters, and what matters even more is that you kept going.

Truth be told, I don't really know who I am or what I'm capable of because I haven't pushed myself enough. I'm at the very start of the journey, and maybe I'm an imposter for writing on this topic before having built a great resume, but hey, it starts here. Through pushing myself physically, I hope to peel back the layers, callous the mind, and find out who I am. When things get hard, do I have the mental strength to keep going? How much more is my body capable of if I just don't stop?

My identity has always been that of "I'm not a runner." A narrative that's played in my mind since the ripe age of 5, where at my first cross country race, I came dead last after being overtaken with the finish line in sight. It wasn't overly traumatic, as I don't think I really cared, but I don't like the fact that I've bought into the words I've repeatedly told myself: I'm no good at running. Let's change that!

Our identity is shaped by what we repeatedly do, so if you want to become something or anything, do it. Don't settle. I'm talking to all of you out there who shut yourselves down before you've even given yourself a chance to do the work and give it a go.


Preparation for grief

Here's a heavy one. I was talking to a friend the other day when he was visiting from the mighty Hawke's Bay. This guy has made it into my top 3 list as the definition of a savage. I first met Jayden at the gym probably around 10 years ago. A few years younger than me, he was making great progress in the lifting department. Fast forwards a few years, and I started seeing a few posts pop up on social media here and there of him running, and before I knew it, I saw that he'd completed a sub 3 hour marathon, a 50-kilometre and then a 100-kilometre ultra. I was blown away. Here was a guy I thought was merely a gym junkie, smashing ultramarathons and getting after the "hard." Most recently, he was entered in the Tarawera 100 miler, an iconic trail running event held in Rotorua. Unfortunately, he was rushed to the hospital to undergo bowel surgery 2-3 weeks prior, which left him unable to participate.

When I caught up with him in late April, we got on to the topic of why. He mentioned that his colleague at work asked him why he puts himself through so much pain, to which he responded, "One day grief will come, and by taking myself voluntarily to those dark places in the mind, I'll be ready." Damn son. That's a heavy one, but it makes sense; pain exposure equips us to better deal with hard times, and it's not a matter of if, but when. There's a freedom to be found in facing the shadows.

A couple of other "whys" I had revolved around the idea of a noble quest and feelings of accomplishment; however, I promised a short one, so I'll leave it there.

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