2015.06.03 ~The Next Best Thing

By: Scott Ludwig

“You wouldn’t understand.”

That’s the only words that came to mind when my wife asked me why…probably because I wasn’t sure I understood it myself. She asked again. This time I upgraded my answer to ‘I just have to.’

Cindy has known me since I was 18 years old. By now she knows me well enough to know that sometimes ‘I just have to’ is the only explanation I have to offer.

I’ve been a runner for a long time. Certainly long enough to know when it’s time to take a step back from anything that could have adverse effects on my health and safety, such as:

  • Running across Death Valley in the hottest part of the summer.
  • Or running 280 miles across the width of Georgia.
  • Or celebrating my 60th birthday by running 60 miles, then shortly afterwards running 60 kilometers as a cool down.
  • Or running a marathon not long after running what I said would be my last one, which was then followed by the one after that and the one after that.
  • The same thing happened after running what I said would be my last ultramarathon. It wasn’t. I ran another, then one more after that.

Those days have come and gone. Almost.

Thinking back over anything and everything I’ve ever tried in my running career, they all have one thing in common: I did them because I had it in my mind that I just had to. Meanwhile Cindy was always nervously anticipating my ‘next big thing’ and knowing that—whatever it was—she didn’t have a prayer of talking me out of it.

But now I’m at the point where I realize that continuing doing things of this nature just doesn’t make any sense.

Which is precisely the reason I came up with this: The Last Big Thing.

This is the one that I know in my heart will be the last one. This Next Big Thing will certainly be my last. I’ve been thinking about this one ever since the idea came to me, and I’ve totally convinced myself this will turn out to be ‘the one.’ After this I won’t have a reason to try anything else, if for no other reason than this one is going to get everything I’ve got. After this—if all goes as planned—there won’t be anything left for me to give.

I’m calling it the Senoia 60 and this is how it works: I want to run as far as I can in the 60 hours between 6 a.m. Friday, October 23 and 6 p.m. Sunday, October 25. The eight-mile route will start and finish in Haralson, Georgia but the majority of the loop that will be used for the event is actually in neighboring Senoia. There will be one central aid station (which will also be used for parking) close to the spot where (SPOILER ALERT) Daryl Dixon killed his brother-turned-zombie Merle on The Walking Dead.

Now for the really fun part: The event is open to the public! The more the merrier. After all, misery loves company and if things go as planned I can be assured of my fair share. The slogan for the weekend is ‘Run to the Edge’ and was chosen with one thought in mind: I’ve been running and pushing myself to the edge of exhaustion for as long as I care to remember. This is my chance to do the very thing I’ve always professed to be doing all along. I simply want to discover what my breaking point is…the exact moment when I’ve literally fallen over the edge into true, unadulterated exhaustion. I just hope I’m coherent enough to recognize it when it happens; if not I’m hoping the other runners (Remember: Misery loves company. Lots of it.) will be able to assist.

I don’t know what those 60 hours have in store for me but this I can be sure of: Win, lose or crawl it will certainly be my Last Big Thing.

In all honesty it is the one remaining thing I need to do before I will be free of having to do anything else simply because ‘I just have to.’

If none of this makes any sense to you, then you simply wouldn’t understand.


Visit the website at: Senoia60.darksiderunningclub.com
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