Like most people I have lots of little stressors, things to think about and do, tasks and responsibilities. Nothing exciting there.
So its really nice when i can escape the morass of dealing with life and go and experience moments of full immersion in the outdoors. Today was one of those days. I was conscious of completely ignoring email, phone calls, clients, finances, staff and other things. I was completely in the moment, struggling with the pain in my legs, exulting in the adrenalin, revelling in the speed, the control and the fun of pelting downhill flat out, the detail of the tyre tracks on the ground in front of me, even the bluish green shine to large pieces of animal dung.
Today I joined a ride that was supposed to be a 68km round trio from Beerburrum to Woodford and back through the Glasshouse mountains. I didn’t make it back because i suffered some mild heat issues, and some major cramping. Didn’t stop me riding the first half though. and I loved every minute of not being in my home office.
Right now I’m loving being in the office with the aircon running and a cold drink at hand!
Here are some pics i got with the mobile while on the ride.
And a little video of the steepest uphill climb.
And finally here is the map and data from Strava.
Sometimes you get to meet the most amazing ordinary blokes. Richard Bowles is one of those quiet types, doesn't push himself forward, not brash or loud, yet there’s a quiet air of forcefulness and purpose about him. I guess running 84km a day for 12 days straight as he’s planning to do needs that.
I first met Richard last year as he was 2,500km into his running of the 5,330km Australian Bicentennial National Trail, or the BNT. He completed that in an amazing 5.5 months. First to do it. Raised awareness for SANE Australia charity.
I went out to the closest point on the trail to where I lived at Blackbutt and met Rich and Vicky, spent a lovely morning with them photographing them and sharing in their adventures for half a day. You can read that story here.
He backed up from the BNT with the Te Araroa national trail of NZ 3,054km of ruggedness that made the BNT look like a walk in the park – crocodiles not included. Record setting 64 days again.
And now he's off to do the Israel National Trail – with yet another record to be achieved. And this time its going to be an average of 84km a day for 12 days straight.
I interviewed Richard today over lunch and was really struck by the mans intensity, his purpose and his unquenchable desire to live in the moment, fully experience the surroundings and cast off the dross of life. To run on trails that are thousands of years old, where Jesus walked, that are steeped in history and meet all sorts of interesting people.
But as the video below will show there is a lot more work that goes on in the months leading up to the short 12 days of running that is a lot harder than running 84km a day for 12 days. Even just typing that hurts! Thinking about it hurts! Richard doesn’t shy away from the fact that it hurts either. But he’s a man that’s driven to succeed, and quitting just isn’t in his vocabulary.
I recorded the interview on my phone and camera but not all of it got onto the video. So some of the questions and answers below are not in the video.
I asked Richard a bunch of really hard hitting serious questions, and got some equally serious (bulls&*t) answers.
I also trialled a new video technique where the person who is being interviewed has their thumb in focus but their face is half missing off in the distance. Fascinating watching their thumb talk. In part 2 I swapped this style for a more traditional (boring) “video the persons face” technique.
I interviewed Rich with tough questions like:
Q When you are fatigued, what does the tree look like?
A The tree is way more beautiful when you are fatigued.
Seriously though, its more about how when fatigued he focuses on what he's doing so much more intently, little droplets of water, trees, things around him take focus and how the other stuff in life becomes less. Richard really enjoys running in the bush, and out in the open spaces.
Q Was your GPS tracker tied to your hydration bladder?
A Obviously not – i lost it 25 km into the first day in NZ – no one noticed I was standing still for a long time.
Q How do you cope with the dangerous river crossings?
A Crossed the Daintree waist deep with crocodiles – hoping they ate someone the day before and weren’t hungry.
Q What do you eat when running?
A Best thing I scored was a packet of Tim Tams in a rubbish bin at a hut.
Q Who's supporting you in Israel?
A “My Partner Vicki – that has lots of complications” breaks into nervous laughter and says “Love you!” suck up.
Q Do you speak the same language?
A No she speaks shoes.
Ok so there’s more to it than than. Watch the video below.
Oh not that one – that’s just silly
Here’s the real interview. Part 1
And here's the shoe collection and Richard posing a lot for the camera.
The power of the human spirit never ceases to amaze me. But this last weekend I was treated to some pretty unusual displays of just how incredible humans can actually be.
I attended, photographed and even competed in an ultra running event, the 24 and 48 hour ultra event at http://geoffsruns.com/. I saw people run 280+km (175 miles). I saw records broken, i saw pain and suffering and individual determination and grit, and most importantly I saw the incredible power of encouragement. I saw friends and relatives camp over night in cold uncomfortable conditions in order to be able to get out on the track and walk a couple of laps with competitors and mentally assist them to over come the physical demands they were placing on their systems. i witnessed first hand the incredible power of transformation of a persons face from resigned grit and determination (or even pain) to sheer joy through a simple spoken word – a “you can do it”. I saw the camaraderie of those who shared the same trials, and for a brief 1.5 hours i was amongst it. As I churned out laps (more of a slow grind then a churn) I was guaranteed of numerous encouraging remarks from complete strangers on the sidelines, a “well done Tim” and “you are looking great” from other competitors who went flying past me, and the cheers from the crowd around the timing tent.
And at the end they were no longer strangers. Many of these runners I have seen and photographed (and run with) before, but as Tamyka put it – “you got to be friends with someone you shared the same physical space with for 48 hours!”
The ultra running community is a small tight knit friendly group of positive goal orientated cheerful people. I’m proud to be associated with such amazing human beings.
Here are some pics. More at http://dreamsportphotography.com/results/2012-caboolture-24-48-hour-race
Here are some videos I made also
We hear a lot about work life balance these days. ITs a big problem for a lot of people and its something i definitely struggle with also.
One of the main reasons i struggle with it is because my life is my work. I am passionate and excited about what i do – well most of it anyway, and as such my every waking moment and some of my sleeping ones are planning and thinking about work.
But what is my work? For me it includes web development, photography, sports coaching and software development (those dreams are nightmares usually). I have fun doing all those things, I love the interaction with clients customers and staff and I am passionate about my art.
My relax and off times are often found with a camera in hand having fun with my family. We go the beach, the park, fly a kite and i have two motives, one is to go and hang our with the girls and have fun and the other is to take some photos. I explore new ideas, try new techniques and still manage to interact with the girls.
My Spiritual side – my Christian life – is completely bound up in who I am and what I do. I am a member of the High Calling Website because i completely believe that my work is as much a part of my spiritual being as anything else. They are featuring a fair number of my photos there in their articles which is fantastic.
My sports and exercise are more than ever involved with my family now. I used to play sports that did not involve the family such as AFL football and Soccer and squash. three years ago i made a decision to quit football, not because i wasn’t excited about playing anymore but because i wanted to put that time into sports and exercise pursuits with my family. Now I run, cycle and exercise with all my family on a regular basis. I still do more extreme riding than the family is up to both on the road and mountain bike.
Instead I prefer an overlapping holistic view that to some extent allows separation but also shows the overlapping nature of life’s components.
How do you manage balance in your life? Do you have techniques or ideas that work for you? Comment below or on Facebook.
Here are some links from The High Calling about balance.