Ups and Downs

Those that know me might feel I’ve prepared for the Arizona Trail’s elevation gains and losses by simply living life. I’ve become accustomed to severe ups and downs, be it through my own choice or that of God’s design.

Whenever I am in the midst of training though, the lows of life are relatively, well, low. Nil, I should say. I might chalk that up to endorphins, or the fact I love the feeling of satisfaction from working myself fully; physically, emotionally, spiritually.

But lows are still there.

Ironically, the lows are more apparent when doing “fund runs,” as opposed to competitive running. And I think I’ve narrowed down why that is.

During competitive runs, there is nobody to rely on except myself. I am the one training for the race, and should have been on a schedule to taper and peak at race time. I am the one responsible for an adequate diet, adequate rest, and adequate mental health to sustain speed, endurance, and focus.

Of all the pieces in a competitive run, I am the only one who can fit everything together correctly, so the pressure is solely on me. It is not the case with “fund runs.”

Whereas I can look at my time and place, overall and within age group, and calibrate for the next run, there is no “next run” with ‘fund running.’

Whereas I can rehash a race and estimate where I should have held back and where I should have gutted it out more, the only estimation I have during ‘fund runs,’ other than completing a distance or time, is by looking at an electronic meter of varying types.

And I don’t mean my Fit Bit.

The meters I find myself gauging my fund runs on are these social media accounts promoting the run, and overall, the bank account that tallies the donations from individuals, businesses, corporations, and sponsors.

I find more ease running a steady 8:00 minute mile for a full marathon than checking how a post is doing for the purpose of raising awareness.

I find more relaxation in bonking at mile 29 of 37, or 42 of 88, than seeing “$0 donated” beneath what I feel has been a quality Facebook post.

I find myself in healthier spirits when I am focusing on bettering the longevity of my own run than that of a nonprofit, yet I can’t think of anything better in the world to do in these moments.

It’s that double-edged sword; a grass root, out-of-the-ordinary method, bare bones, get-r-done blade cutting costs by raising money through sacrificial reciprocity, yet it’s that same sharpness that cuts each time I lash out, the blade pinned against my own chest as I check to see if any of it matters.

It doesn’t matter if I come in first in a race. It doesn’t matter if I come in last.

Fund running it matters. People count on me. And I count on people.

Consequently, it’s that same give and take, back and forth, that symbolically – and metaphorically – creates the swells and chasms, the rise and fall, of our journeys.

In the end, that’s part of the reason I am doing this. Dependability. Learning to depend, and learning to be dependable. And learning to let it all go. I mean, LORD, we’ve raised over $17,000 thus far, and we’re just getting started. If we keep this up – WE – the school may actually have enough to look into their own property sooner rather than later.

And if not, well, I’m running. But I’m not running away from the issue. I am running towards it.


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