Returning to Javelina? An open letter to myself.

It's decided. 

I'm going back.  This time for the 100 mile buckle.  But why? 

I have never had a desire to return to that place in the mountains.  Nor to go the distance of 100 miles under such pressure. 

Sure I've been the distance twice since the Daytona 100.  But those two buckles are different.  TransRockies was distance over days.  Yes there was crazy elevation gain, but the pressure was different from a classic 100 miler. 

But what about Across the Years where you recently completed 100 miles?  Yeah, that was different too.  I was signed up for 48 hours time on the track.  I could have went home, took a cold dip in the tub, hot shower, got a lenghty nap in, and returned to the track to finish up the last of my run after I injured myself. 

The difference of those two buckles since Daytona?  No significant clock chasing me down to pull me off the course as the miles pour on.  As the will break down.  As the body sucumbs to a death march of repeated torture screaming for salvation through death!  It's so dark in here! 

Running over the years have seen me through so many life changes and challenges.  An outlet of grief, pain, turmoil.  A place to escape, literally, mentally, emotionally, and physically.  To get out of everything all in my head!

During my interview with Runner's World I shared how running has helped me overcome my own fears within, personal health issues, family crisis, family health issues, financial obsticals resulting from ongoing family health issues, and finally freedom and peace within.  My adult time out.  My therapy. 

When I ran Daytona 100 it was the result of seeing hope for the first time in a long time in the midst of all kinds of life challenges.  I completed Javelina Jundred 100k and the next day I didn't feel like death, so I thought "100 miles is possible". 

Prior to that thought on that Sunday morning in the back yard I had no desire or even belief that 100 miles was a race in my future. 

Daytona became the race that changed everything for me.  The place where all my pain came to bear.  I had arrived at a place a couple of months before where I wanted to fill as physically bad as I did internally.  Daytona not only delivered, but exceeded any level of physical discomfort I could ever imagine. 

The tears flowed at the conclusion of that race for so many reason.  I accomplished something I thought impossible.  I finished something where hours earlier all hope had diminished.  I overcame my internal demons by being torn down to the basics of life.  I was elated to simply be alive. 

The love, care, concern of others who supported me.  Strangers who tended to my needs.  Stories I got to share, even at the grocery store as I limped through and brought excitement and hope to others who had never heard of ultra-marathons nor had seen someone who resembled them do such things. 

I turned a corner emotionally, spiritually, mentally, physically. And I never had to see that place again between mile 81 and 87.  Nor that place at mile 94.  Or that craziness at mile 98. 

I vowed never to do such a thing to myself again.  Daytona in essence was the end of an era for me. 

Chapter closed.  Door slammed.  Done.  Finito. 

Don't believe me?  I wrote a blog about this very topic!

Apparently there's one more chapter, another door.  Because I'm going back to Javelina Jundred, not for 100k, but for the 100 miler.

This time though I'm going in with my eyes wide shut.  This time I'm going the distance without the mental, emotional weight I took with me to Daytona.  My mind is clear.  I'm actually stronger and healthier.  Which don't mean shit when going 100 miles.  Trust me on that. 

This time is me going into this as a runner.  I want to chase my dark dogs.  I want to go back to mile 87 and see through the physical and mental pain of the distance to see how I've grown as a person.  I want to glimpse into that mirror again.

Maybe I have become an addict.  Maybe I'm hiding behind all these cliche thoughts, theories, and words of self healing to cower in my corner of the darken trap house in which I'm a prisoner but don't know it. 

Maybe the distance has become an emotional cocaine quietly calling my name in the night.  "Ed..."

Fuck you 100 miles!  Fuck you!  Stop calling me!  Leave me be!   Is what I would scream back if I heard my name called in the night by the mountains to go 100 miles agin.

I'm lying. 

I'll jump out of my bed, screaming like a new born baby.  Running in the streets until I can waive down a driver to drive me as far away as possible in the middle of the night.  Never to return.  House can keep all my shit! 

Can't live somewhere where I hear voices in the night.  You kidding me?  That's that Poltergeist shit, which I want zero parts of.  I would officially be OUT!  Permanently. 

Wait.  Where was I?  Got side tracked thinking about Poltergeist and ghost, and ish. 

Oh, yeah.  The call of the distance. 

I do want to go back.  Simply because I can.  Because I want to peep again inside my soul and see how I've truly changed since breaking down on the side of the road in front of the Daytona 7/Eleven at mile 84.

Plus, I'll get to share this experience with my AZ running family.  I met Henry at this very venue.  Connie, my running mentor and source of ongoing inspiration paced me on this very course.  I shared a loop with the world traveling runner Jamila Williams.  My mom saw me run for the first time and was exposed to the world of ultra running on at this epic annual rite of passage. 

Javelina is special to me and I want to go back emotionally and mentally available with a more mature physical refined machine with a different perspective.  To see two sunrises!

Sure I'll try and raise some money for Make-A-Wish AZ, but that wont be the purpose or the focus.  Sure I'm leaning to wear the suit and tie during the event, but that won't be the focus either.  Be a damned sight to see thought.  I would pay to see a fool complete 100 miles in a full suit. 

Nah fam.  I'm going back for me and me alone.  This decision was mine and mine along.  No pain to run from.  No emotional turmoil to hide behind.  No ridiculous travel schedule to blame for lack of preparation.  I'm going back to the distance to see me.  Clearly.  Objectively.  Fully. 

Now I have to remember this when I find the new mile 84 on the course when I want to hug a cactus to ease the pain.

Maybe it's time to take my buckles out of the closet and place them somewhere I can see them daily and own the runner I've become?  Maybe? We'll see.  But first let's get this coveted Javelina Jundred 100 mile buckle!

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