venerdì 25 settembre 2015

Bucket list, SDW100 and stuff...

So, here we go again, for another blog post and yes, this time in english (feel pretty sorry for my poor english, as usual). 

Well, I think this is a good period to write blog posts. I mean, we are almost at the end of a running season and for many (included me) it´s already off-season time: so, good chance to take a look to the next months, plans and dreams for next year. 

And last but not least, I´ve nothing to do today, so plenty of time to share a couple of thoughts with my usual 3 o 4 readers. 

So, first of all, I must say that this whole post is just the result of some thoughts I had in the last months. Again, it´s just my opinion, so absolutely debatable and criticizable. 

A couple of months ago, let´s say, after my first run of the South Downs Way 50, I wrote a kind of race report post to say "thank you" to the whole organization for having put an amazing event out there. I wrote many many times, how I fell completely in love with SDW. 

I mean, the day, the course, the bunch of runners and friends I´ve met out there, all was so amazing and still pretty unique. 

I would in fact probably say that if you don´t love this thing, maybe you don´t love ultrarunning. Yes, I admit I had also a couple of personal reasons to be on that trail: it belongs to the history of my family (or the history of my family belongs to that trail, better said) and so...well, I´ve already said, I was stoked thinking about coming back next year and run the 50-miler again. the comments to the post, a buddy of mine (just met on the SDW) and a Lord of the South Downs Way as well, Joe Delaney, wrote me something like "maybe we could tempt you with the 100-miler for the next year". My answer, pretty common and almost "banal" was: "hey can´t wait for it, maybe in the future, SDW100 is definitely on the bucket list, on top of it". 

And THAT is the point. The bucket list. 

Very important: at this point, I was inspired by a discussion between Andy Jones Wilkins and Ann Trason on a TRN-podcast that you can easily listen to (I think it was reordered in July maybe). 

In a few words, AJW took his point of view about "the bucket list thing". He said essentially that the idea that you "have to" run a specific race to complete a sort of "list" with a check, brings every year lot of new comers and enthusiasts in the sport, but maybe many of those will go away again after completing their "mission", or their "list". And that something like Tim Twietmayer´s 25 Western States or Ann Trason`s 16 WS participations (with 14 victories, of course) will be hard to repeat in the future, again because of the extreme "turnover" in the running community. 

He said, you have to be really consistent, and patient, and driven, to achieve something like that. Essentially, you must love it.   

Of course, I totally agree with that.

And here is a second point. Something I believe very deep in fact, is the concept of "Love Of The Game". 

There´s all in between: respect for yourself and the runners around of you, respect for a race you´re running (the course, the weather, etc...), respect for the organizers and volunteers on the course...definitely, respect FOR The Game (yes, capital G). And this is a very important element to consider, when you´re thinking or dreaming about running a race. 

So, back to South Downs Way. I have a huge respect for that trail, for its history and meaning as well.  And I would say, I was wrong (I didn`t lie, let me clear that, simply I was wrong) when I wrote that SDW100 is on my bucket list.

I was wrong because SDW100 means for me much much more that a cross on a list; I can´t definitely describe that race just as a point on my "running career" or (still worse) as something useful to get some fucking points or lottery tickets for another race (plenty of respect for lottery systems, no doubt, but I admit, my critique is to those that write post like "hey, I ran this race, yeah it was good and now I have 3 qualifying points for this other race and bla bla bla..."). 

South Downs Way (I mean, the trail, not only the races on it) means for me really a lot. It´s definitely a part of me, that I feel I reencountered after many years. And I knew that already before I ran the SDW50. 

So, back to the Love Of The Game thing again (I know, I´m trashing your mind, as usual): that IS for me The Love Of The Game. 

I mean, you gotta love something, if you want to dream and to achieve it. You want to prepare the hardest you can to be out there and give your best, every single step or mile or page of your life. And of course, you gotta be consistent and veeeeery patient, to prepare and train year after year and come back. 

The point is that...well, at the end of the day, I decided to register for SDW100. 

Sure, I don´t know if I will be able next year to run and complete it. In the past I imagined that I could have run a 100-miler maybe in 2 or 3 years. My longest run so far is Mozart 100k. But, I tell you...whatever! 

I just know that I "need" to run there, not just because of a buckle or a sandwich with sausage and beer with friends (and all of that remains crucial, for sure), but because I feel I "belong" to it. 

Very, very difficult to explain. Because I feel I want run this race and this trail so many times as possible in my life, and give the race itself my best, just to say my "thank you" to the Community and to Centurion guys of course, which are definitely something special we are a part of for one day. 

Because in the end, I LOVE it. 

And back to AJW and his vision: just have a listen to his 2014 IRunFar post-WS interview. 

His last Western States as runner (10 participations, all Sub-24 of course and a lot of achievements - 2015 was his first WS as "volunteer" and Staff member). Well, THAT is exactly what I mean about Love Of The Game. He proved again he definitely "bleeds" Western States. 

Well, I could probably say: I bleed South Downs Way. 

So, June 2016 (and April 2016 for the 50-miler as well): see you on the SDW. 


The Sisters (Photo credit Luigi Fumero)

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