Getting Back to “Extreme”

Jenna In the Salt Flats
This ocean’s all dried up, looks like i need to go find myself a new one.

As you get older, you sometimes find yourself further away from anything you might call, “extreme;” in a complacent place you never quite remember arriving at. That’s a vague statement, I know. What i mean to say is- one day, I’m guiding rafts down rivers and kayaking class IV rapids; I’m camping out in tents and chopping wood and making weird whiskey drinks with instant lemonade– and then the next? The most adventurous thing I’ve done lately is bike to work. I haven’t done shit. I haven’t pushed myself (even when I was snowboarding in Japan last year I was taking it easy). I’ve been injured and now broke and all together a little too passive. And passive gets you no-where good, as this motivational meme will attest to.

I stumbled across this quote today. It really struck a cord with me.
Dead fish are smelly and can’t swim. I don’t want to be a dead fish.

I watched a documentary tonight that really hit this point home for me again. It’s called Desert Runners and is about several people attempting to run FOUR ULTRA MARATHONS in just ONE YEAR. I’ve never thought it possible to run A marathon, and they went ahead and packed almost 20 of them into a single year. Oh, and did I mention they were all through DESERTS?

This documentary resonated with me the same way that the book, Born to Run did. I relate with this extremism; pushing yourself along with others to the bitterest point of your endurance. These people pushed themselves to their physical limit, and as they were reaching their breaking point, a fellow racer came to them and offered support, encouragement and fresh water. I need that in my life again; not just yoga classes, or fitness boot camp. I need to overcome real danger, a real and life-threatening challenge. I remember gaining a special bond with the people I kayaked and rafted with. What we were doing was of course fun, but it also had undertones of true danger if things went awry. We had fun, played hard- and then buckled down and did everything in our power to help our co-workers when something was going wrong. We were a team and it didn’t matter who you were- if you were struggling in a real way, we weren’t going to let you go it alone. You learn a lot about yourself in those moments as well, you realize you can overcome far more than you initially thought.

My goal is regain strength in my left side and begin climbing again. I want to enter climbing competitions and do a big-wall climb. I want to sleep on the side of a cliff. As I type this I feel nervous. I’m oddly afraid of heights, and have had my fare share of “freezes” on a rock wall. But I trusted myself, my equipment and my partner, and pushed through. I know I can do it again. I’m going to master these multi pitches and come out the other side feeling on top of the world.


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