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  • Writer's pictureJake Lawrence


I knew it wouldn't be easy. Deep mental, systemic fatigue gripped me. My physical body seemed ready, though readiness is often an assumption proved false shortly after setting out. Stomach issues. What's the cause? Nutrition? Water quality? Stress? A combination? I'm going to chalk it up to too much sugar, carbs, etc. This has happened in a few training runs and events, before. The body seems to purge itself of excess. Warm temps and inadequate hydration also play a role in GI issues. Nonetheless, when the stomach goes, the whole body feels it. Flu-like symptoms as a companion on your morning trail run. The mind goes dark. Frustration sets in and the accusations follow. The finger is pointed right back at me. A stern scolding follows. Will I learn? Apparently, these things happen from time to time. Let's make a note, a tattoo rather, that we'll keep it simple as important outings and events approach.

  1. Coffee is great, but water is primary.

  2. Baked goods are great, but fruit + nut butter satisfies.

  3. Pasta/starches, etc. are fun, but protein and fat satiate.

  4. Sleep is always primary.

  5. Comfort is not constant. Don't compare how you feel in the moment, during exertion, to how you felt laying around your house drinking coffee and eating baked goods. It's all relative. Hardship. True hardship. Have I ever truly known it? My confidence opens and closes the door to experience. I choose activities that are physically confrontational. I chose to help you become an optimized version of yourself. These choices structure my days. We are survivors. Human beings. We choose to adapt and thrive in any environment. We also choose to wallow in pity, shame, and misfortune. All is choice. The homeless survive, proof that humans can manage a high-level of discomfort on a daily basis and choose to remain alive. Just as the highest of highs remain out of reach so do the lowest of lows. Each of us chooses the arena we participate in and our level of effort/commitment within its confines. The will is always present. Life still tastes good. One small moment is enough to fill our cup. Beauty still trumps ugly. Hardship arises when we lack love. Self-love. From this place, we have lost presence. Analysis sets the mind adrift. Hardship thrives in the mindset of desire... from a place of hope, wishing, and comparison. Thus, many of us become spectators and critics, perpetually reliant on others to create and produce content for our critique. From a place of love, we can grow together. From fear and anger, the gap widens. Stasis sets in. Paralysis. Luck, fortune, and generosity replace work, ingenuity, and resolve. Creation is a byproduct of hardship. New synapses form and confidence rises when discomfort is voluntarily or involuntarily present. The act need not be new or unknown. The moment creates the occasion. The less you are exposed the softer you get. The home becomes the womb, it's isolation cocooning you from life. Keeping the self inside keeps the living out. You bloom, partially. Hardship is a choice. To avoid one form is to accept an alternative. Upon reflection, judgment comes harshest from ourselves. Doubt and regret follow inaction, not procrastination. Time brings all to the surface. Act. If not now, when.

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