I found my heart pounding as I approached the end of the book. I had long ago stopped arguing with Joe. Like many “over-the-hill” runners, I’m “sick and tired” (but not tired enough to make myself sick!!) of putting up with the general mind-set of getting old. The body has long since stopped obeying my commands. I needed a new method, and this was good enough for me. Progress is slow. Painful. I get discouraged, trying to really change how I view the body. Its hard. But every whisper of a breakthrough feels like an organ playing with all the stops out.
Last weekend, leading up to a mighty challenge of doing the “Rim to Rim” in the Grand Canyon next weekend, Stacy and I decided the time was right to actually do the whole “Back to Bridger” run, all 18.1 (on my car’s odometer) miles. I’ve run this many times doing 8 minute miles. I love the route…..the feeling of ending a fun season of running, and thinking of finally being able to ski my workouts until next April! This one had to be walked. The mind-set was simple – next week we’ve got to do 24 miles of very rugged terrain (6,000 feet of elevation loss and gain) over rocky paths….and a deadline of hearty Bozemanites waiting for us at the North Rim trailhead at a specific time. No room for error of judgment. Oh, I love the challenge. My mind is already racing just thinking about it. So, we took off all alone at the Elk’s Club on Haggerty Lane – at first light. A practice of what would really happen in one week. Again, no room for error – every challenge had to be met (dehydration, aches and pains, bonking, soreness, you know the routine). It worked. Gobs and gobs of energy was consumed just making it happen. The day after was comical – total sluggishness, mind in a blur, “what were we thinking”, etc. But we made the decision to actually become supernatural – I’m not talking about becoming superman-superwoman. Supernatural is just doing what is not natural for humans to do. That’s all. We have opportunities to do this everyday. I’d say, be supernatural as much as you can everyday. And get in the habit.
When we got to Bridger Bowl at the foot of the Jim Bridger Lodge, there was a welcoming committee – 5 faithful Winddrinkers who had volunteered to put this on. They were there welcoming all those who chose to be supernatural that day. Turns out, only Rob (our new president) and Kyle (a returning Bozemanite – and Bozeman Brewery brewer) were the only other long-haulers. They RAN it probably twice as fast as we did. But….their supernatural feats made us feel absolutely supernatural as well. Just “step into the unknown, and that’s when the supernatural starts to unfold.” (page 301). Joe talks about “mirror neurons” in the book, and that’s when you see (witness) someone else doing something so beautifully, you instinctively want to do the same, and in essence, you begin to. Joe must be a tennis player, because he uses the act of watching Serena Williams hitting a ball – which allows him to hit the ball better than he ever did before. I’ve got to wrap this up. This is Joe’s recipe for being supernatural (page 300…and sorry if it sounds a little preachy – it just seems too true to neglect including it) – “We have to begin to do what’s unnatural – that is, to give in the midst of crisis, when everyone is feeling lack and poverty; to love when everyone is angry and judging others; to demonstrate courage and peace when everyone else is in fear; to show kindness when others are displaying hostility and aggression; to surrender to possibility when the rest of the world is aggressively pushing to be first, trying to control outcomes, and fiercely competing in an endless drive to get to the top; to knowingly smile in the face of adversity; and to cultivate the feeling of wholeness when we’re diagnosed as sick.” - Bon voyage, you supernaturals….. – David Summerfield