Race: Bow Lake Dam 15k
Location: Stafford, NH
Goal Time: 1:05:30
Actual Time: 1:09:07
The journey of a thousand li
begins with a single step
~ Lao Tzu
So does a race of 15k. Daunting it may seem to look upon a journey across 9.3 miles of hills in New Hampshire. Yet, easy is the path once the journey begins.
If a man is crossing a river
And an empty boat collides with his own skiff,
Even though he be a bad-tempered man
He will not become very angry.
But if he sees a man in the boat,
He will shout at him to steer clear.
If the shout is not heard, he will shout again,
And yet again, and begin cursing.
And all because there is somebody in the boat.
Yet if the boat were empty.
He would not be shouting, and not angry.
To race when not ready to race is like being a full boat. One is trapped with others racing. One is thought to be pacing off others when one is not. One puts themselves into the uncomfortable places that one must be ready for. As Master Sam once said of a hockey game: "Having the puck is like being a magnet for animosity." If one has not trained for the full boat or the animosity, one cannot be ready.
Nature does not hurry
Yet everything is accomplished
Hills are but nature. One cannot hate hills like one cannot hate water or the Sun or the moon. Without great hills there are no great valleys. The greatest hills when you are an empty boat are to be taken without hurry.
I knew not whether the wind was riding on me or I on the wind
~ Lieh Tzu
As nature's hills become heaven's valleys one may be tricked into expansion of effort. Action through non-action (wu-wei) means not more action through some action. Gravity is Heaven's pull still no hurry, yet increased action.
Pounding a blade and sharpening it
Cannot be kept for long
~ Lao Tzu
Indeed the increased effort of ill-trained "sprinting" cannot be held. What energy is left can be thrown but at the end a last. Sprints to the end... Sprints to the end.... in the way of the sages.