I read so many autobiographies and sports books in the last 20 years, that I can clearly recall the outcomes. I am done ! I am finished ! I am over it ! Done and dusted ! I talk about endurance sports, team sports, boxing and many more. I never hear a boxer at the age of 60, I wish I could get back to fighting, or see a basket ball player keeping on playing day after day after retirement. Team sport players, need a team to play volleyball and handball and alone they just don’t do it. At late age or when you are out of the game, you just don’t ride your supermoto on the race track for fun every day.
There are ageing tennis players and old-boys volleyball team, of course. There are also exceptions, like Eric Cantona playing beach-foot way beyond his retirement and MMA fighters retiring to a martial art school. Getting into sports commentating and coaching is also a possibility, but what trail runners feel, love, enjoy and experience is way more different.
I recently read the books from Agassi and Sampras on their tennis, the Gold in the Water about a past olympic swim team, the biographies of Jack Johnson and Holyfield. They are all about the light in the eyes and the give it all do it all attitude, then following the fading will power and dimming passion. Getting into some sort of bitterness and an “I wish it happened differently” or “just one more time” type of feeling.
Mountain, Nature, Outdoors
No I am not putting down other sports, I love them, I enjoy watching them, analysing them, talking about them. I absolutely love track cycling, triathlon and tennis, athletics and gymnastics.
The title actually should not be about trail runners, but mountain people and nature lovers. Mountain runners, alpinists, climbers, hikers. The love of the mountain, the love of nature, the experience of discovery and exploring, what are the forever living motivational factors. We might be shattered after a 100mile running race, but we still go out for walk on the local forest path and collect some herbs for the evening infusion. Our body is totally destroyed post ice climbing, but we still love chopping some wood and building camp in the forest. Even at the age of 50, 70 or 90 ! We want to bring our children, grand and great grand children with us to show them what the nature can give us. We love walking barefoot on forest ground with no noise and spot animals on the go. We do it every day and want to continue doing it till it was possible. Age retired ultra runners, despite their double knee replacement, still go and do their forest walk, picking up rubbish and do trail maintenance work. Often older race participants get back to races to give back as voluntary aid station masters ! Road cyclists are kind of similar as it is a non-impact non damaging sport. If the young-hood passion started out from the heart, we can see very mature people still riding the iron-horse. The breathtaking views of riding through high mountain passes, the adrenalin on descents, the low impact and the solitude.
The call of the wild and the magnetising aspect of nature what make mountain people just drawn back to the outdoors. No matter what age, what weather, what discipline. There is a mystical deep magic in nature what can capture our imagination and we just cannot leave that at bay. It occupies our mind, soul and thoughts. At least once a minute, pictures of some sort from the nature flashes back to us. An animal running away, a camp fire flame cracking in orange and yellow, shoulder fatigue but satisfaction of carrying a 15kg backpack up on a sketchy slope. There is simple beauty to this calling, but the beauty of hardship too.
What I essentially try to say, that we are motivated by such a variety of extra-internal factors, that is way different, than: “I absolutely love playing tennis. The mixture of endurance, explosiveness, lateral and frontal plain movements and the abilities and preparedness for different kind of surfaces make tennis an extremely challenging sport. When you step out to the main court of Wimbledon, it takes your breath away.” It is not something that you revisit alone or seeing from distance gives you the shivers.
As a personal experience, I don’t care if I am road biking, mountain biking, trail running, hiking with family, camping out with my wife, running a trail running competition, learning a new skill for rock climbing. I just don’t give a damn, which one I am practicing. As long as I am out, alone or share it with someone, I am at home ! I need this every day if I can, but at least every other day.
I used to be living in the city, but even at that time, we as kids, at least twice a week, went out to the local arboretum and searched out small forest patches. We booked our holidays always in nature. In the mountains, near big lakes, in big national forests. I guess my family like nature too. I loved visiting the sisters of my mother for summer vacation as they had the forest near their house. We were there every single day ! No exception ! How epic it was for a kid ! As an adult, you revisit these experiences day and night and it still calls you ! Some of us have no such an experience, some resist the calling. I don’t and many of my friends and other athletes don’t either. We accept and do everything in life to make it happen. Make life, make nature, make mountain happen.
We will be outdoors till the last day of our life !