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Barkley Marathons, Outdoors, Running

“Twilight Zone” – 2010 Barkley Report by Lazarus Lake

The Yellow Gate, Courtesy of Finally Found Something I love

The following 2010 Barkley Marathons report by RD and Barkley founder Gary Cantrell (aka Lazarus Lake) is re-printed with permission. The original post was on the Barkley mailing list on April  3rd, 2010.


my barkley race report,
by lazarus lake.

progress has its disadvantages.
there was a day when the barkley runner need go no further than the trailhead to get out of the comfort zone.

you all know about the comfort zone.
that’s where most ultras take place.
running ultras is all about staying in the comfort zone.
all our strategies revolve around staying in the comfort zone.
all our advice is about staying in the comfort zone;

“start slow”

“walk every uphill”

“dont take any chances”

for all the talk about exploring human potential, and seeking our limits, ultrarunners tend to play it safe.
they line up “challenges” they know they can finish.
and run them carefully
well within their “limits”.
we believe that success is never failing.

at the barkley success is about over-reaching our abilities,
and living to tell about it.
sometimes success is getting your ass out alive.

some people “get” the barkley. some dont.
but the barkley is all about leaving the comfort zone.
the barkley is about taking our chances with failure.
true success is not the absence of failure,
it is the refusal to surrender.

these days the vandals have cleared so much trail,
and the veterans are so numerous,
the advice so plentiful and sound,
it is sad, but one can go to the barkley
and never leave that comfort zone.

we had our winners and losers last weekend.
the most obvious winner was JB.
you dont finish the barker by living in the comfort zone.
you play that baby in the twighlight zone.
you have to go too fast
(you might blow up)
you have to get too little rest
(you may break down)
and you have to start laps you might not finish
(with or without making mistakes).

but you dont have to finish the barkley
to have “gotten it”.
lots of people got it.
those people started loops they couldnt finish.
they ran out of time.
they got lost.
they tried to do something beyond their abilities
and they did not succeed.

but they were not defeated.
just knocked down.
(maybe fed a dose of humility)
they explored the twighlight zone and came back winners.
they got their ass in and then got it back out alive.

some people didnt “get it”.
they ran carefully within their abilities.
they clung like glad wrap to the veterans
and never opened their map with doubt in their mind
(and fear in their hearts).
they stopped in camp
never starting that loop that could end up in hell.
or turned back before entering that section
they might not complete.

they were not exactly defeated.
they just gave up.
surrounded by the opportunity to stretch & grow
to explore the “out there”
they were afraid (in the end) to venture out of the comfort zone
and into the twighlight zone.

golden earring wrote a song about barkley
and called it “twilight zone”:

(my comments in parenthesis)

somewhere in a lonely hotel room,
There’s a guy starting to realize
That eternal fate has turned its back on him,
It’s two a.m………..

(at the limacher hilton)

It’s two a.m., the fear has gone
I’m sittin’ here waitin’, the gun still warm
Maybe my connection is tired of takin’ chances

(he said he would start this loop in a few minutes and catch up to me.
i bet that sorry sucker is still sitting by the campfire and i am out here all alone)

Yeah there’s a storm on the loose, sirens in my head
I’m wrapped up in silence, all circuits are dead
I cannot decode, my whole life spins into a frenzy
Help I’m steppin’ into the twilight zone

(i’m in over my head, but i’m not giving up. i just wonder if i really belong “out here”, where the great ones have gone before)

The place is a madhouse, feels like being cloned
My beacon’s been moved under moon and star
Where am I to go, now that I’ve gone too far
Help I’m steppin’ into the twilight zone

(i have mixed feelings about being “out here”: uncertainty and fear)

The place is a madhouse, feels like being cloned
My beacon’s been moved under moon and star
Where am I to go, now that I’ve gone too far
Soon you will come to know,
When the bullet hits the bone

(havent found my limits yet, but i think i can hear them rustling around in the bushes just up ahead… or maybe that is just wild pigs coming for my ass)

Soon you will come to know, when the bullet hits the bone
I’m falling down a spiral, destination unknown
A double-crossed messenger, all alone
I can’t get no connection, can’t get through, where are you

(i have never been this alone)

Well the night weighs heavy on his guilty mind
This far from the borderline
And when the hit man comes
He knows damn well he has been cheated

(now i know. it cannot make me give up, it must beat me down)

Help I’m steppin’ into the twilight zone
The place is a madhouse, feels like being cloned
My beacon’s been moved under moon and star
Where am I to go, now that I’ve gone too far
Help I’m steppin’ into the twilight zone
The place is a madhouse, feels like being cloned
My beacon’s been moved under moon and star
Where am I to go, now that I’ve gone too far
Soon you will come to know, when the bullet hits the bone
Soon you will come to know, when the bullet hits the bone

(ok. this time barkley wins, but this isnt over. i do belong “out here”)

i was never a particularly talented ultrarunner.
i was not fast.
i was not tough.
still i am proud of having achieved sub-24
at ultra-running’s bellweather 100 mile distance.

i am prouder to have tried for sub-20…
and fallen short.
running 80 miles at sub-20 pace and then blowing up
felt a lot more honorable
than running carefully and breaking 24.
i learned more about myself.
and grew more as an athlete and a person.

you dont have to go to barkley to “get it”.
“it” is nothing more than putting something on the line
taking a chance
and trying to do something you do not know for certain you can do.

there is no success
if failure is not in the mix.

and this is why the “sick-o’s” keep applying and re-applying at barkley.
this is why there are so many requests for so few slots. this is why those
lucky 35 strap it on and march into a hellish ordeal with a smile on their
face and a song in their heart. because we are never so alive as when we put
it all on the line. and at barkley the only guarantee is that you will be
pushed beyond your limits. everything is on the line.

laz

More Barkley Stuff

If you see any other race reports buy runners or crew,  or particularly good recaps, let me know. And as always, if you want to learn more about the Barkley, check out the following:

Peace, and good luck Out There.

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