The Purpose of the "50-Mile Dolphin Dash"

Welcome to my blog leading up to the American Cetacean Society's 2nd Annual "50-Mile Dolphin Dash" fundraiser run on Wednesday, July 6th, Monterey, CA. I'm willing to shed 50 miles worth of blood, sweat, and (possibly) tears to raise funds to attend the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in St. Helier, Jersey (UK), where ACS will be speaking out against commercial whaling and compromises to international whale protection measures. I'm also the Executive Director of ACS, so I put my heart and "sole" where my mouth is.

Support the Dolphin Dash with a tax-deductible contribution:

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

On this, the first official long-run day of my training for the "50 Mile Dolphin Dash", I find I need a lot of motivation to get out of the house.  In the past, all of my distance running has been done in distinctly less urban and even very remote areas - Pebble Beach/Carmel/Big Sur (CA); Athens and Ossabaw Island (GA), even the Everglades in south Florida.  Never underestimate the power of being pursued by every hungry mosquito in south Florida. 

Now that I live in south-central Los Angeles, distance running seems much less Zen to me.  The constant stimuli - noise, traffic, and people - make it a tremendous effort to get into "The Zone".  Despite what many may think, distance running is akin to moving meditation - it takes some doing to acheive Nirvana, but once there, you're blissfully on autopilot and can go forever.  It's a "mind-body-soul thing" I cannot adequately describe, and not totally related to an endorphin high - it goes well beyond that. 

Urban area or not... I'll make the most of it.   And I will return to my running Nirvana, even if I have to leave L.A. for intense weekend training sessions in the Big Sur/Carmel area.  It boils down to this... I'm a simple person with simple needs - I need good running shoes.  I need to run, and not much else.  That is my consuming passion, and my greatest source of inner contentment, peace, and joy.  

So now, I read my dog-eared copy of The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner to officially kick off the training season, as I have done for so many years, and remember that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. 

I won't be lonely, though.  You'll be joining me for the journey.