The Why?

100 miles done in 24 hours at Across the Years 2019

I'm on the phone with a friend I met on the Camino de Santiago in Spain just 3 short months ago. She asks what I've been up to, and I tell her I just finished running for 24 hours. There are some pauses, some clarifying questions, some laughs, some stories, and then she asks me, "Why Jason? At some point you need to ask yourself, why do you do this to yourself?"

For anybody who has ever ventured to do something "out of the ordinary", be prepared to be asked by others "why?"  Think deeply about your response, before you respond. This is an amazing moment, when you can truly share the essence of who you are with another person. They don't care about what you do for a living, they don't care about what you have, they don't care about where you came from, they don't care about the color of your skin, they don't care about whether you're blind or in a wheelchair, they just want to know who you are at your core. They are asking you - "what makes you tick?"

It was such a beautiful moment when my friend asked me this question. I have been asked this question a lot in the past, but I never truly understood the power of that moment. For all the times I have fumbled with words in the past whenever I have been asked that question, I take this moment now to answer it, honestly, vulnerably and passionately.

WHY?

In life sometimes I forget how to live,
at this point I feel like running.

Breathing, moving, outside in the sunshine,
is to feel truly alive and free.

Step after step after step, I keep moving forward,
even if in life I feel like I am stuck or fallen, I can still run.

In the beginning, it is easy. I am strong. I feel as if I can conquer the world.
As time passes, my feeling of being invincible will fade, and I know it is coming.

I bring this darkness upon myself, running toward it, into it and waiting for its arrival.
When the pain and doubt begin to knock upon my door, I welcome these friends with a grin. They have come again for a visit.

I know these characters, intimately.
Pain likes to make me feel. At first he used to hurt me. Now, he just reminds me that I'm alive, and I laugh with him.

Doubt likes to play with my mind, and instigates a lot of conversation within my mind.
He reminds me that a peaceful mind, is a happy mind. And I take this time to practice having a happy mind.

How better can I grow as a person, than to step out of my comfort zone.
If it doesn't challenge you, it will never change you.

Running is fun.
Life is fun.
Crying is fun.
Trying is fun.
Living is fun.
Being a confused, hot mess is fun.

Step after step after step, I am getting closer to who I really am.
Step after step after step, I am living who I truly am.

Letting the layers of a material world slip away, mile after mile after mile is my goal.
Remembering the man who lives within my body is my goal.
Authenticity is my goal.

For me, a good long outing is a tremendously selfish and giving activity.
Juxtaposed and complimentary all at once.

It has been said, life can only be lived moving forward and understood looking backward.
I have learned that it is easier to trip if I am running forward and I try to look backward (especially when you're visually impaired as I am). And so, I try always to keep my gaze forward, taking step after step after step. Breathing, moving my legs and arms in rhythm, making hundreds of yes/no decisions so I can keep my forward progress steady.

At the heart of my run, is the heart of who I am.
Just a man.
Just a bundle of emotions.
Just a person who is scared, tired, hungry and thirsty.
I just love my run when I get to this point. It is when my real run begins.
It is the run of living.
It is the run we all yearn for.
It is me, at my core.

As the miles grow and spectators spectate, people begin to take notice.
Something is out of the ordinary. Perhaps something is extraordinary.

I just keep on running.

Sometimes I run into a wall, trip on a stone, or miss a turn.
Usually a nice person calls me back to the course.
Sometimes I am lost by myself, and I have to find my way back without help.
Sometimes I just chart a new course.

The run is my metaphor.
All of life can be summed up in my run.
The longer I run, the better I learn how to live.
The better I learn how to live, the better father, friend and citizen I become.

Sometimes we find the best part of ourselves at our core, and the only way to reach that core is to forsake the material world and become primal, savage and raw. Not in the face of others, but with ourself. An exercise of solitude. A deep meditation. Consciousness.

I feel at peace when I am moving and I am outside. The longer the better, as far as I am concerned. I don't ever want to return to "caged living" - cars, houses, office buildings and creations of man. 

Can I be Tarzan?

I can be who I really am when I run. It's my Mona Lisa. 
It's my stronghold on being able. It's a part of who I am.

And so the answer to "why?" is not, and cannot be a straightforward response. Nor, should it be. It is a multitude of thoughts that originate from many different places, but end in a common essence.

I am authentic in my running; and, authenticity is something I am always striving for.



ABOUT JASON ROMERO

Jason is an expert at teaching people to transform Dreams into Reality. He has amassed a lifetime of expertise in the field as a General Manager for General Electri leading large teams, where he ran a $400 million dollar business, he was a form leader of Global Operations for a Fortune 100 company, an attorney and CEO of a non-profit that helps children with Autism. In addition to his professional experience, he is a US Paralympian, holds 15 world records in ultra-running and mountain biking, is an author, a highly sought after motivational speaker and is the 1st and only blind person to run across America - 3,063 miles where he averaged 51.5 miles/day for 59.5 days. For speaking and media inquiries visit www.jasonromero.net. 



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A DEMAND FOR EQUITY FROM THE WESTERN STATES 100 ENDURANCE RUN

THANKS to Craig Thornley and Western States 100 Endurance Run

TREADMILL TRAINING for Visually Impaired Runners