"I have to be enough for me"

Last year, shortly after I started trail running, I took a day off work and ran the 13-mile trail system in Smithville.

I didn't know what I'd find out about running, trails, or the clammy recesses of my brain.

I only knew that my heart needed me to go run for a long time in the woods. And running, that's the phrase that blossomed like a big white thunderhead. I ran and turned this phrase over in my mind.

Today, my heart needs me to go run for a long time in the woods. And that is the phrase that has billowed up like a blister around a thorn. It's not a comfort exactly. It's a North Star.

I have to be enough for me.

I've been looking forward to a number of races in late summer. The next and most aggressive one is on top of me now — Du Draper Twice in Oklahoma City. I've had doubts this week about my readiness for this effort. What if I'm not strong enough? What if I haven't been running enough? What if I suck on the bike? What if what if what if what if.

That is the mental equivalent of hacksawing into my bike frame.

When I signed up for it, I wasn't even living in a body that could do this race. Point A to Point B has involved running, cycling, and more often than not doing both in the same session. Am I ready?

It doesn't matter and I don't care. I'm doing this because it's beautiful and I can. Because racing sends a rush through me like nothing else, connects me to other humans like nothing else, connects me to something so pure and fundamental about life that I can't even name it.

What is doubt in the face of that? What relevance? I do this because it makes doubt irrelevant.

I have to be enough for me.

I've done less swimming and less strength work than through the winter. Consequently my swim is slow and I don't have that plumped, powerful feeling in my muscles that comes with dedicated strength work.

I have to be enough for me.

It doesn't matter whether anyone knows where I am, whether anyone wants to come along with me, whether anyone approves of the run or the ride, whether anyone gets how wonderful it is to run alone on a trail in the woods. At the end of things, you are all you've got. You have to be enough.

So as much as is in your power, do what your heart asks you to do.

I'm not doing running today because I have to get ready for anything. I'm not doing it in reference to a goal. I'm not doing it because the race effort needs me to be doing it.

Today the race doesn't even exist. My heart needs me to go for a long run in the woods today. I'll see you on the exit from the trail.