Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Couliflower Ear

My first year on the San Jose State Judo team was the toughest training I had ever experienced up to that point. Being the "Freshmen" on the team, I was often sought out by the older Judoka who were either looking for a rest round or to assert their dominance on the new team member.

One Judoka in particular made every effort to make my life a living hell. Josh was known for being particularly tough on new freshmen, and for whatever reason he decided I was going to be his newest pet on the judo team. Every practice Josh would grab me for randori (free practice that mimicked a live match) and would try to pummel me with clothes lines and punches to the ears in an attempt to give me couliflower ears like him.

While I didn't necessarily have the best technique, I could scrap and wear my opponent down. As Josh would try harder to knock my head off, I started to laugh. Getting madder and madder, Josh continue to throw haymakers my way. I moved, blocked them, and continued laughing. This would continue with Josh getting angrier and angrier until he started tiring. At this point I would pick up the pace and "repay the favor." Often I would get a throw, or completely exhaust Josh which was just as satisfying.

Ultrarunning, and specifically 100 miles the elements often leave us physically beaten. Thinking we are unable to continue we slowly shuffle along the trail. This is when I find a good laugh is in order. Laugh at our mental desperation, realizing that we caused this misery on ourselves. After a good laugh, I find my spirit is lifted and I let go of the pain that is slowing me down.

Our biggest weight is our mind and perceived limitations. Let the mind go...