A while back I reviewed a memoir by Lynne Cox, a record-setting endurance swimmer. The entry contains a fantastic set of comments recommending books and articles and media on the topic of mind-body experiences and pushing one's physical/mental limits.

One of the most interesting was on the Barkley Marathons, an extraordinarily challenging wilderness endurance run which is also extraordinarily weird. The entrance fee used to be a flannel shirt, but now it's a license plate from anyone's car but your own. This wonderful article is the best introduction to it.

It’s no easy feat to get here. There are no published entry requirements or procedures. It helps to know someone. Admissions are decided by Laz’s personal discretion, and his application isn’t exactly standard, with questions like “What is your favorite parasite?” and a required essay with the subject “Why I Should Be Allowed to Run In the Barkley.”

This LJ entry has a fascinating account of the Barkley by a guy who got so exhausted that he literally forgot where he was and what he was doing. Comments have some personal anecdotes of similar experiences, along with one of mine at the end.

This documentary is best watched after reading the article, as it minimizes explanation in favor of experience. It's quirky and rambling and fun, and has several satisfying narrative coups. One is when, about fifteen minutes in, it gets around to explaining some of the Barkley's more eccentric and difficult characteristics, in an understated manner with diagrams. They are so outrageous that I burst out laughing. Another is the origin of the name, which doesn't come up until near the end and neatly sums up the charmingly WTF nature of both the founder and the entire thing. The last is a question that kept not getting asked, and not getting asked, until I finally gave up on it. It's asked at the very end. The answer is perfect.

Right now, due to horrendous health problems, it's very questionable if I will ever again do anything more strenuous than walking a couple city blocks. So I'm glad I pushed my physical/mental limits while I could and wanted to and enjoyed it. Had I known what was coming, I might have done more. Probably not a lot more, because I was already doing everything I really wanted to do. But maybe a little more, just for the memories and to have no regrets rather than very few. But had I known what was coming, it would have depressed the hell out of me, so it wouldn't have been worth it. I'm glad I didn't know.

But even at my physical peak, I probably never could have done the Barkley. I don't think I ever had the level of athletic potential to be accepted - I was always more impressive in terms of spirit than in physicality. Technically speaking, I was not only not a world-class athlete, I wasn't even in the top five in my own dojo. Even if I'd somehow gotten into the Barkley on the basis of sheer mental fortitude, a lot of it involves finding your way around, and my sense of direction is wretched. Finally, I already had a sport. To train for something like the Barkley, I would have had to give up or cut way down on karate to devote myself to running, and I loved karate but I've only ever mildly liked running.

But if I could wave a magic wand and make all those obstacles disappear, I would love to try the Barkley.

It's one of the most hardcore tests I've ever heard of for some odd stuff that I am or was unusually good at. Obviously I don't have physical endurance in terms of stuff like training all day any more, but I used to have a fairly impressive amount for an amateur. It involves sleep deprivation, and I'm good at that. I've worked around the clock quite a lot in my life. I've gone entirely without sleep for at least 72 hours multiple times. My functioning degrades, but less than average based on what other people were doing under the same circumstances.

Most importantly, it's a test of persistence. That is something I still possess. I've met lots of people who are better than me at every other thing I'm good at. I have never met anyone who's better than me at not giving up. I am pretty sure I'm world-class at that one. If there's something I really, really want, and there's no reason to quit beyond that it's hard and giving up would provide quick gratification at the cost of the thing I really, really want, I have never quit.

The Barkley intrigues me for an odd motivation mentioned in the film: people run it because it's something they can fail at. It's a challenge for people who've never failed at certain things, and so don't know what their limits really are. The flip side is that maybe, if they can find a thing they could fail at, they'll be able to know for sure that they are limitless.

Is there anything that could make me think, "This is miserable, I know I'll get something I really, really want if I keep going, I'm physically capable of doing so and no harm will come to me if I do, but I'd rather give up and get some sleep?" And then actually make me give up, rather than have that thought and keep going?

I don't know, because nothing ever has. Not even this entire last year and a half, which as some of you know has been as tough as the Barkley but nowhere near as fun, and which often made me very seriously consider giving up. But I haven't.

So if I could, for all senses of could, I'd run the Barkley. I would probably spend the entire time limit wandering lost around the very first loop, like this guy:

Julian is a “virgin,” one of fifteen newbies who will do their damndest to finish a loop. He has managed to escape the designation of “sacrificial virgin,” officially applied to the virgin each year (usually the least experienced ultra-runner) whom Laz has deemed most likely to fail in a spectacular fashion—to get lost for so long, perhaps, that he manages to beat Dan Baglione’s course record for slowest pace. At the age of seventy-five, in 2006, Baglione managed two miles in thirty-two hours. Something to do with an unscrewed flashlight cap, an unexpected creek.

That is great. It's such a magnificent failure that it loops around into success. He may have only got two miles, but he kept at it for thirty-two hours. I respect the hell out of that.

I think I could match that level of sheer stubbornness.

If that's true, I'd like to know it. I'd like to find out if it is true. And I like to do difficult things because they're difficult as long as they're also in some weird sense fun, and unlike, say, climbing Mount Everest, the Barkley sounds both extraordinarily difficult and fun for certain weird values of fun that include most of it being painful and miserable. (I don't know if there are two groups of people, those who do difficult things because they're difficult and those who don't, but there are definitely two groups of people, those for whom the last clause of that sentence makes sense and those for whom it doesn't.)

So here is what I ask you: if you could (assume that for all senses of could, you at least could have gotten in and had some sort of shot) would you do the Barkley? Why or why not?

If you wouldn't have done that specifically, is there some specific difficult thing - climbing a mountain, doing boot camp, taking the bar exam - that you haven't done or couldn't do in real life, but have imagined doing? What is it? Would you do it if you could? Why?
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yhlee: counterpoise trebuchet (trebuchet 1 (credit: <user name="vom_mar)

From: [personal profile] yhlee


Being a soldier.

Mainly, I'm curious because, as far as I can tell, EVERY SINGLE SKILL REQUIRED to be a good soldier is something that I actively suck at. I suck at taking orders (I am actively oppositional). I am the least athletic person I know who is not physically disabled. I have mental health conditions that would disqualify me for any kind of useful service; God knows they pretty much disqualify me for anything but being a writer. I'm probably too squeamish. I hate being around other people. I have no sense of direction. I get tunnel vision, real live actual tunnel vision, from sound effects in first person shooter computer games. And that's not even getting into things like military ethics, which is a topic that fascinates me but it's only ever going to be academic. I mean, you name J. Useful Trait for being a soldier, I don't have it.

If everything above (plus all the other stuff I'm not thinking of) got reversed, I would seriously consider trying it. I spent part of my childhood on two military bases. My dad used to be an Army surgeon. The core value of service really appeals to me. But I'll never know.
ellen_fremedon: overlapping pages from Beowulf manuscript, one with a large rubric, on a maroon ground (Default)

From: [personal profile] ellen_fremedon


Huh. There's no way I would ever do the Barkley because I find running miserable and only do it if I'm chasing a bus, but if it were an endurance walk with a lot of wayfinding I would find it kind of tempting.

I am very good at persisting with difficult things as long as I'm learning, not even how to do them, but how to learn them. I am stubborn as hell with meta-puzzles. I am much less stubborn with puzzles I know how to approach; I loved grad school right up to the point where my field started to make intuitive sense and then I got very bored very quickly.

If there's no puzzle at all, just a thing I need to practice, and I have already identified the thing and determined that I can't progress without practicing it...yeah, at that point I have virtually no ability to self-motivate unless I really, really like doing the thing. And even then I can't make myself practice the boring bits. So I can knit pretty well, but I don't do anything that requires grafting or blocking because I don't like those parts and won't do them; I'm a good cook, but my knifework is shit; when I'm in practice, I can play the piano and bass clarinet at a pretty high level of difficulty, but my technique is still super sloppy; and so on.

And I've never yet found a physical practice that I enjoy doing enough that I'm willing to, well, practice it. I curled for five years and liked it a lot until the geometry and physics started to make sense, but after that it was just a lot of running around on the ice in front of stones whose trajectories could be left as an exercise to the reader. I do enjoy walking! But I only really enjoy hiking in unfamiliar surroundings--I get bored by the second or third time I've taken a particular route--and it's hard to get to new places to hike without a car :(.
Edited (spelling) Date: 2017-01-23 10:29 pm (UTC)
yhlee: soulless (orb) (AtS soulless (credit: mango_icons on LJ))

From: [personal profile] yhlee


...I feel you. I lose interest in most things once they get too easy. The main reason I decided to become a writer, I realized in retrospect, was because for over ten years my parents told me it was a stupid and pointless thing to be doing, and it was hard to get published. Half the attraction of majoring in math was that I had to work for it.

(Although there needs to be a sweet spot for me--if improvement is too slow, I just give up. I'm so clumsy and physically inept that most physical activities fall into this category for me.)
ellen_fremedon: overlapping pages from Beowulf manuscript, one with a large rubric, on a maroon ground (Default)

From: [personal profile] ellen_fremedon


Same! I majored in linguistics because it was the only undergrad subject I got Bs in.

(For me, seeing improvement doesn't really help--I can see plenty of improvement from practicing scales and Hanon, or whatever the equivalent is in other disciplines; I'm just not sufficiently invested in the idea of my own success to make it worth my while to endure scales and Hanon.

Basically, I need to enjoy doing the thing badly to have any hope of learning to do it well.)
yhlee: Alto clef and whole note (middle C). (alto clef)

From: [personal profile] yhlee


Yes! Like, toward the end I took Intensive Latin for an elective and got an A+ in it hardly even trying. It liked the prof and it was fun while it lasted, but even if I'd been staying for more years of undergrad that would have killed my interest in doing more Latin. I sweated blood over the math and it was mind-bendingly beautiful.

I have a piano background (although can only play medium difficulty pieces) and I can't endure Hanon and scales either! My motivation to keep up with instruments was not performance, because in actual real life I don't care all that much. But I compose music, which is ongoingly interesting and challenging and fun, so my interest in various instruments (piano, viola, harmonica) was always driven by that.
ellen_fremedon: overlapping pages from Beowulf manuscript, one with a large rubric, on a maroon ground (Default)

From: [personal profile] ellen_fremedon


I don't give up on meta-puzzles--figuring out the steps it would take to solve the puzzle. Once I've figured that out I may or may not care about grinding out the actual solution.

{ETA: For values of 'puzzle' that include 'anything in my life that requires any labor whatsoever.' Story plots, schedules, shopping lists, packing boxes, menu planning--they're all puzzles, as far as I'm concerned.]
Edited Date: 2017-01-23 11:03 pm (UTC)
yhlee: soulless (orb) (AtS soulless (credit: mango_icons on LJ))

From: [personal profile] yhlee


I hate puzzles and use walkthroughs to get by them.

I also hate Rubik's Cubes with a passion. My mom got one when I was a very small child. She fiddled with it for about fifteen minutes, figured it out, and thereafter was instantly able to reorder an Rubik's Cube in her possession no matter how messed up it was in just moments. I have actually been to a fucking lecture on the group theory [1] of Rubik's Cubes and still can't solve the fucking things.

[1] Mathematical topic, where "group" is mathematical jargon that I won't bore you with. I wish I were making this up.
mildred_of_midgard: (Default)

From: [personal profile] mildred_of_midgard


Omg, yes, I loooved group theory, it (more specifically Galois theory) was my favorite thing in college across three majors and a minor, but on Rubik's Cube lecture day, I was like, "Eh, if I went to the trouble of wrapping my brain around this application, I could probably learn to solve a Rubik's Cube, but UGH, puzzles."
yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))

From: [personal profile] yhlee


I did a little of that in a seminar! Ah, covering groups. It's been a long time, though. :)
mildred_of_midgard: (Default)

From: [personal profile] mildred_of_midgard


I know, I forgot everything I loved so much because I never used it! Oops on the no applications.

I ended up not pursuing math past the BS because it was just a little too hard for me (although extremely rewarding) and I did not have the confidence I would be successful at it at the grad school level at that time, the way I was confident about linguistics.

I did think and do now think that I would have been able to get a master's and possibly a PhD in math if I could take it a bit slower and at an older age (I started my PhD at 21). But, that ship has pretty much sailed. Not because you can't go back to things! But because I've picked up too many other interests that are going to give me a higher payoff. Ars longa, etc.
yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))

From: [personal profile] yhlee


Yeah, same here. If I'd gone after a Ph.D I obviously would have had to retain things more, but at the time I was facing the two-body problem and my boyfriend-now-husband the now-astrophysicist was actively great at physics whereas math for me was work. Fun work, but work. The other thing was that I was pretty sure that pursuing a Ph.D would have meant giving up writing for 6-7 years, and I didn't think I could survive that. Then I got diagnosed bipolar and it was all moot anyway.

The thing I do regret is not majoring in music, because I love composition and theory (my senior project in HS was composing a chamber orchestra suite), but I'm stuck in this weird middle place where the beginners' stuff is way too easy and material for music professionals is over my head and there's nothing in between. I probably should have applied to conservatory like they told me too, but it's too late now.
ellen_fremedon: overlapping pages from Beowulf manuscript, one with a large rubric, on a maroon ground (Default)

From: [personal profile] ellen_fremedon


I mean, I do enjoy all those things (and can get pretty invested in them--I used to be able to spend a whole afternoon on a Sunday NYT crossword and now I'm disappointed in myself if it takes me more than 15 minutes).
mildred_of_midgard: (Default)

From: [personal profile] mildred_of_midgard


I may or may not care about grinding out the actual solution.

You know, this reminds me of something Neal Stephenson wrote about in the 1990s about cryptography then vs. the 1940s. In the 1990s it was all about mathematically proving that some methods are in principle vulnerable to certain kinds of attack, that this method is superior to that method, etc.

So his protagonist (this is Cryptonomicon) had very little experience actually cracking specific codes, so when he ran into stuff from WWII, when they actually had to know right now what the enemy was saying, it was a definite worldview shift.
yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))

From: [personal profile] yhlee


I haven't read Cryptonomicon, but that sounds very much like today's mathematicians' crypto vs. pragmatic real-world security engineering we-need-to-deal-with-it-now crypto. Modern crypto grows out of number theory, which itself used to be the most pain-ass-takingly "pure math no applications need apply" branch of pure math.
mildred_of_midgard: (Default)

From: [personal profile] mildred_of_midgard


Yep, yep. I did number theory in college precisely because I had no interest in real-world problems, haha. Alas, since I ended up working in tech where a grasp of actual security engineering would have been useful.
yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))

From: [personal profile] yhlee


Hee! I only have a B.A. in math, although I did some abstract/applied algebra because crypto was the ONLY math application that interested me in the least. Then I heard from one of my professors that the NSA was a miserable working environment and probably not great for women (I wasn't out as trans at the time), and changed my mind about aiming my life in that direction.

I always hated those math problems in K-12 where they show you applications, but I spent a brief part of my life as a high school math teacher and forced myself to emphasize applications because so many of my students related better to being taught that way, heh.

Someone in my university's Engineering college admissions department tried to get me to switch to their college away from Arts & Sciences, but I knew it was a bad idea--the thought of doing engineering gives me the horrors, not because it's not important, but because I am just so temperamentally ill-suited to it.
mildred_of_midgard: (Default)

From: [personal profile] mildred_of_midgard


I didn't specialize in number theory or anything, but I definitely selected all my math classes (B.S.) according to what had the fewest applications. Lol, self.

Yeah, engineering is something I am extremely temperamentally ill-suited to as well!

From: [personal profile] tool_of_satan


Heh. I would never do the Barkley but the one difficult thing that came to mind that I might want to do is the MIT Mystery Hunt. I really should get around to it one of these years.
mildred_of_midgard: (Default)

From: [personal profile] mildred_of_midgard


I hear you! I am the same way re languages. I'm clearly linguistically gifted and at the same time monolingual in large part because grammar is exciting and vocabulary is so tedious when there are so many other grammars I could be mastering. So I start a language, solve the puzzle of how it works, wow everyone with my learning speed, and then go haring off after the next language before my command of this one has gotten to the stage of being *useful*.

And I'm good at vocabulary! Not the best in the world, but I have a very strong memory that pays off. I just do not have the self-discipline to stick with it when--oh, shiny! New language!

After years of daydreaming about multilingual, I have finally accepted this about myself. Oh well.
ellen_fremedon: overlapping pages from Beowulf manuscript, one with a large rubric, on a maroon ground (Default)

From: [personal profile] ellen_fremedon


Same! This is why I love dead languages--no one will ever expect you to speak to another human being about how to get to the train station; you can just suck out all the delicious juicy grammar and morphology and leave the hollow communicative shell.
mildred_of_midgard: (Default)

From: [personal profile] mildred_of_midgard


I know, right?! Unfortunately, I couldn't even stick with a dead language long enough to be able to read the texts I wanted to in it at anything like a reasonable pace. If I'd stuck with Classics, I could be reading the texts I wanted to in Latin and Greek. Instead, I read a couple at a painfully slow pace and moved on to yet another dead language.

It worked great for historical comparative linguistics, which is why I ended up with my PhD in Indo-European studies and still can't sit down and read, say, Demosthenes for pleasure.
mildred_of_midgard: (Default)

From: [personal profile] mildred_of_midgard


Sorry! I would let you borrow my linguistic brain if I could, since you would clearly put it to better use than "read Virgil slowly, forget Latin a few years later, read Homer, forget Greek, read Beowulf, forget Old English, read Gilgamesh, forget Akkadian," rinse and repeat.
yhlee: a sewer cover in Kyoto (I am not making this up) (Kyoto)

From: [personal profile] yhlee


Oh God, I know that feel. I am moderately good at languages, but I always bogged down in vocabulary. I bounced around between Latin, French, German, Turkish, Welsh, Japanese, and probably a couple others I'm forgetting. In real life, I'm only actually fluent in, er, English, I have some Korean because I'm a heritage speaker and it was my mother tongue, and I was made to take seven years of French so I can kiiiiind of get by in that if I have to with my horrible American accent.

(I'm working on Japanese currently mainly because a friend is helping me with it, and is teaching it in a way that is really cool and fascinatingly different from the horrible-ass ways it's traditionally taught, and getting much further. So we'll see!)

I have to say the nice thing about Latin was that even when there was vocabulary it was exciting things like exitium and necare and not boring conversational phrases about ordering things in a cafe. If I were ever able to travel to France and enjoy French cafes ordering things would probably seem like a more attractive thing to learn, but oh well.
nenya_kanadka: commas & apostrophes in sex positions (@ comma sutra)

From: [personal profile] nenya_kanadka


grammar is exciting and vocabulary is so tedious when there are so many other grammars I could be mastering

SAME.
vass: A sepia-toned line-drawing of a man in naval uniform dancing a hornpipe, his crotch prominent (Default)

From: [personal profile] vass


Ooh. Have you done any bouldering? From what [personal profile] rydra_wong says, it's all about the puzzles.
ellen_fremedon: overlapping pages from Beowulf manuscript, one with a large rubric, on a maroon ground (Default)

From: [personal profile] ellen_fremedon


I haven't! I keep thinking it sounds like fun, but there's not a climbing gym convenient to me. (Apparently there's a very good one in the area, but it's just far enough away that I can't really get there easily or on a whim.)
dhampyresa: (Default)

From: [personal profile] dhampyresa


If I could, I think I would. It sounds like fun -- the miserable kind of fun, granted, but still fun.

I kind of want to swim across the Channel or across the Strait of Gibraltar. Sounds a bit ridiculous, but it's humanly doable. Maybe I'll be able to swim across a breton bay this summer.
dhampyresa: (Default)

From: [personal profile] dhampyresa


I wouldn't do it naked, Rachel.

All joking aside, it's been really encouraging to see you say this -- "if Rachel thinks I can do it!" -- so thank you.

Edit: 14?! HOLY SHIT.
Edited Date: 2017-01-24 10:50 pm (UTC)
dhampyresa: Paris coat of arms: Gules, on waves of the sea in base a ship in full sail Argent, a chief Azure semé-de-lys Or (fluctuat nec mergitur)

From: [personal profile] dhampyresa


Well, that's completely different, then!

Honestly I'm most worried about the boats/sea traffic. But I can worry about that later, it's not like I'm going across tomorrow -- one day, though!
commoncomitatus: (✺ chiana: slow with the soul)

From: [personal profile] commoncomitatus


I'd never heard of the Barkley before this post, but it sounds incredible.

And, well, I'd love to say that in theory I would totally do it, but I'm self-aware enough to know that my lack of self-esteem and/or generic cowardice would probably preclude me even if I knew I had what it took to physically pull it off. It sounds like the sort of thing I would love to push myself and test my limits with, but ultimately, I think it would just end up being a case of "the heart is willing but the mind is weak".
commoncomitatus: (☂ run deano run)

From: [personal profile] commoncomitatus


Hm, possibly Iron Man. It passes by our building every year and I always get that "if only..." feeling. I imagine with something like that, there's just enough variation that a failure in one event wouldn't belittle the achievements in the others.
recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)

From: [personal profile] recessional


I actually spent a significant amount of time training myself to stop doing a thing if it's actually miserable, and there's not going to be consequences for dropping it.

There's enough stuff in my life that is constantly miserable, that will probably never stop being miserable, and that I will keep having to fight and struggle through very potentially as long as I live. I was also hardcore indoctrinated with the Gifted Kid "you should be able to do anything, if you CAN'T do it you're just not TRYING hard enough, if you stop trying you're GIVING UP, and GIVING UP means you're LAZY and UNDISCIPLINED". Combining that with my major depression nearly killed me, literally, more than once.

So I've actually made it a hardcore thing for myself: if I'm not enjoying it, if I'm miserable, and if what I'm going to get out of it is not worth this misery, I need to quit. That even if something at the end is something I really want, I am allowed to go "but do I want it that much?" And I'm allowed to say no, and go home and read a book instead.

Now like I've got qualifiers in there, which include "actually miserable." Because there's stuff that's kind of . . .technically miserable? Which are at the same time actually massively rewarding at the same time as it's miserable, and that's not going to make me quit. Writing, for example, falls under this category for me: the experience of writing is, for many reasons, more or less for me like the equivalent of some kind of horrible marathon, but at the same time as it's horrible, it's IMPORTANT or it's rewarding me in some other way that's incredibly important, and those I'll keep going until I'm dead.

And there's stuff I fucking hate that will AFTER IT'S OVER give me something that is in fact that rewarding so that the misery is worth it, and the answer to that question of "is this worth it" turns out to be "yes". (See also: school.)

But if it's actually miserable, the question of "is this worth it" is allowed to be "no". Which is actually still very hard for me.
recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)

From: [personal profile] recessional


I suppose then for me, if I quit something it's because it's not worth it anymore? All the things that are Insanely Hard/Crushing/Etc that I want, I'm still doing. (School, writing, being alive). It's possible I'll fail some day? But they're also kind of intertwined, sooo. >.>

I've given up on things that hurt to give up, but still weren't worth it. There are lots of things I could readily list where I wish that something about me/my abilities/my life were different so that it hadn't been a point where I had to realize it wasn't worth it? (My music degree/career, etc.) But I suppose the flipside of that is that things that are important to me are almost never single events - it's not The Marathon I give a crap about, it's being able to do the things that are behind the marathon? So I haven't failed until I give up, even if I don't succeed at that race. (As a metaphor.) Even if I fail at the one project, I can always try again at The Thing.

....but I also waited for three years with one inadequate light in my bedroom because I was tired of having one of the three bulbs in the room go out right after I changed one of the others so I was waiting until THEY ALL BURNED OUT GODDAMNIT and it turned out that was an extra-length bulb and it took that long to burn out. And it was actually super inconvenient and I had to physically stop a friend from replacing them FOR me at one point because god-damn it no I WAS WAITING, so I . . .have great faith in my stubborn.
recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)

From: [personal profile] recessional


That makes sense.

For me it all falls down with the usual Events because I LOATHE physical discomfort (I am like just about every expected stereotype of the Taurus, but definitely the physical comfort one), so in order to make me put up with it it's got to be really necessary for something I really want.

The closest I've come is my tattoo artist calling a halt once because I was bleeding and shaking too much for her to be comfortable with continuing*. And especially since I can't control the bleeding, I've mostly established that my body will start doing weird things with stress hormones or whatever and make that bleeding happen before I tap out. Which in future made me more likely to tap out when I was starting to be unhappy - or at least get an estimate to finished and if it was too long tap out and make a second appt: past a certain point my meatsack was going to make this impossible and if we're getting close and I'm unhappy i might as well cut that short. ;)

And like for me that old guy didn't fail because he didn't stop he just ran out of time. >.>

*this is because it turns out that while I can tune out the pain from ordinary tattoo stuff, telling my body that yes I got the message but we're not actually being damaged, shut up, once the pain starts getting near my viscera (which this was, due to being up the top of my hip), my body GIVES ZERO FUCKS WHATSOEVER what the brain is thinking and is caught by the overwhelming desire to attack whatever it is that is making us hurt, and will not be redirected. I fully intended to stay there and keep still whatever my body thought until the outlining was done, but it was kind of unpleasant.
Edited Date: 2017-01-24 04:28 am (UTC)
rydra_wong: Text: "Your body is a battleground" over photo of 19th-C strongwoman. (body -- battleground)

From: [personal profile] rydra_wong


And like for me that old guy didn't fail because he didn't stop he just ran out of time. >.>

Or, looking at it the other way -- one of the things I find strangely beautiful about the Barkley is that it's set up to ensure, as much as possible, that almost everyone fails (apparently one year the t-shirts read "Where your very best just isn't good enough"). Some years they've had no finishers at all.

The fact that, occasionally, you have more than one finisher and there's actual competition to see who finishes first is more a coincidence than the point.

I get the impression that Baglione's record is regarded with a certain respect; it's not "haha he screwed up and should feel embarrassed", more "yes, that's an extremely Barkley experience".

Incidentally, I Googled and found his account:

http://www.mattmahoney.net/barkley/2006/baglione.txt

I refer to Barkley as an event, not a race. It is my belief that, with possibly one exception, no Barkley participant has ever treated it as a race.

There have also been some great interviews with Rhonda-Marie Avery, the first blind runner to attempt Barkley (despite Cantrell pairing her up with a sight guide who was a Barkley veteran, they got so lost that they only covered 8 miles of the actual route but ran a good 50-70 miles more off-route -- which is really a very impressive showing, given the terrain). She's said some fascinating things about the equalizing power of an event where everyone's set up to fail, and wanting the chance to experience that failure.
recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)

From: [personal profile] recessional


Yeah see for me this still honestly gets a head-tilt and the sense that this is a weird and, to me, nonsensical definition of failure, and also one that does not . . . actually make "failure" less scary?: they have literally succeeded at what they apparently set out to do (participate in this event and not give up), because they're literally not thinking of it as a race where they cross the finish line. Which means that, by definition, they did not fail.

Like I sort of get that these are mostly people who are so inundated and immersed and saturated in cultures of SUCCESS MEANS WINNING AKA BEING FIRST TO CROSS THE LINE OMG or something like that, that this is a new idea, and that those concepts are hard to drop? But especially if nobody thinks of it as a race, especially if the vast majority of people go in knowing that it's basically impossible, then to me the goalposts have obviously been reassigned to "stay going the entire limit of the race-time, working towards trying to get there".

I dunno: maybe its a hazard of being arts-raised and actually avoiding most sports because they seemed to have a zero-sum value system where if you weren't winning, you weren't worth much. It's not necessarily that the arts environment was more healthy, as it's where I get a lot of my own crazy from (the magic word there is "effort", aka "you must have performed effort at practice in a way that is generally understood to be effort, such as sitting at the piano endlessly repeating the parts you're having problems with for hours and hours and HOURS and hours", which among other things leaves no room for "so I have an undiagnosed anxiety disorder and it's fixated itself around practice and sitting at that damn piano is actively agonizing for me", or alternate learning styles, or anything)? Or something.

But especially if everyone's agreed, officially or tacitly, that winning isn't the point, and even finishing isn't the point, then literally your success or failure seems to depend on "did you quit?" So for me it's not normalizing failure, or making failure less scary, or anything of the sort: it's just changing what counts as failure. Success here has clearly become "did you stick it out the whole time block and/or perform a feat of endurance/physicality that adequately meets what people around you think Is Impressive Given Your Limitations (see: blind runner)." I'm not seeing much in the way of interviews or discussions with people who went out for an hour and went "and then I realized this was a bad idea for me and went home and had tea instead."

If there are, then I'll be impressed. I won't hold my breath, though, because Quitters Are Pathetic, and We Don't Like Quitters, and that is basically the atmosphere of every single physicality-focused organized event I've ever encountered? Soooo.

I guess the thing for me is: due to multiple experiences that are mostly, in hindsight, unbelievably . . . ill-advised on my part, I am absolutely certain of my ability, if I decided to do it, of staying out there until the end of the given time. I might well be much like that old man and end up going in circles in a two mile space, but I am absolutely stubborn enough to stay out there for that entire period and stick it out. I'm also pretty sure of my ability to do so in spite of a really high emotional and psychological cost and long term damage?

Which is why it would be a really, really poisonous thing for me to get involved with, and why the vast majority of these are that way, because: see original post. That's where my crazy resides, in the idea that quitting anything I have Set Out To Do is a mark of me being a failure, weak in discipline and willpower, and deserving of contempt. The thing I had to teach myself that I'm still bad at is to be able to look at the cost-benefits of a moment and go "this is stupid, this isn't worth it, I'm done." And to make that decision without guilt or self-abuse. Basically, for me not to need to prove to anyone at the cost of my own mental health (including myself) that I Am Tough Enough To Be A Worthy Human Being.

These days my sine qua non for that one is "I'm not dead yet/I haven't stopped writing yet." The advantage with that is that I'm pretty sure death won't be far BEHIND if I do the latter, and if I am dead, I won't know about having failed! . . . that's probably only funny to me. Ahem.

Events where the failure condition is "did you cross within the first ten people" or whatever are both harder and easier: harder, because the fact is I probably can't do them, because I probably can't beat the anhedonia/lack of executive function enough to drag my body into the kind of shape it would need to be to do them, so I would always fail. And on the other hand easier, because it's much easier for me to go "...but I also don't care enough about that event to bother."

Things where the actual goal is "show how tough-minded you are/how much you can endure/etc" are more dangerous for me. In part because almost everything ongoing can be pounded down to that. I feel like my "previous experiences" list is both depressing and seems like attention-seeking so I'ma skip it, but. XD


.....AND THAT WAS A DISCONNECTED RAMBLE, but yeah. I realize it's in some ways an issue of "what does this word actually mean?" but honestly for me the Barkley doesn't normalize or help to deal with failure, as such, it just redefines what success and failure ARE in this situation. Which may in and of itself be very useful for some people! But not me.
recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)

From: [personal profile] recessional


Yeah I mean in case it got lost in my clog of blah, for some people these things are very valuable and that is totally fair. I've just had to sort of chuck out the whole thing because the bit that twists around and gets toxic for me is a knot of a particular shape, that means anything designed to Test Endurance for the sake of doing so is going to hit on it hardcore.
rydra_wong: Text: "Your body is a battleground" over photo of 19th-C strongwoman. (body -- battleground)

From: [personal profile] rydra_wong


I dunno: maybe its a hazard of being arts-raised and actually avoiding most sports because they seemed to have a zero-sum value system where if you weren't winning, you weren't worth much.

Oh, me too. Not to mention the fact that since I'm substantially dyspraxic, I was the Kid Chosen Last For Every Team, etc. etc.. So not only was it a zero-sum game, it was guaranteed that I'd lose (and also not even be able to do anything that teachers or peers would consider a decent attempt). School put me off sports of all kinds for a solid two decades. Until I discovered climbing, which many climbers (me included) will insist isn't a sport, though it has sport elements.

I'm not seeing much in the way of interviews or discussions with people who went out for an hour and went "and then I realized this was a bad idea for me and went home and had tea instead."

Well, the people who do it are ultra-runners/trail runners to begin with, so it seems relatively unlikely that you'd get someone who'd go through all the arcane work of finding out how to enter, successfully get a place, train, and then go "... wait, why am I even doing this?" just an hour in. Though I'd be fascinated if someone did.

But it does seem to be deliberately set up to get almost everyone to that point of realizing it's a bad idea to continue and they have to quit, and the articles I've seen (like Jamison's) generally include quotes from people as they drop out and return to camp.

then to me the goalposts have obviously been reassigned to "stay going the entire limit of the race-time, working towards trying to get there".

Most entrants don't try to stay going the entire limit of the race time (60 hours), though; they hit that point of Done, wherever that is for them personally, where it would be stupid/dangerous/pointless for them to continue, and return to the camp.

I won't hold my breath, though, because Quitters Are Pathetic, and We Don't Like Quitters, and that is basically the atmosphere of every single physicality-focused organized event I've ever encountered? Soooo.

I know exactly what you mean, but my impression of the Barkley (obviously based entirely on articles and the film, and it's not something that I would ever be capable of entering, let alone doing) and what interests me about it is that it's genuinely something different from that -- it goes so far into deliberate perversity and pointlessness that it turns into something else.

It's not Quitters Are Pathetic, it's more like It's More-Or-Less Guaranteed You Will Have To Quit, and maybe you find something interesting/worthwhile in finding out where that point is for you, and/or valuable in the trying.

(Now I really want to rewatch the documentary again to refresh my memory of how it handles that.)

Which is why, I absolutely agree, it would be poisonous for anyone who is stubborn enough to stay out there at the cost of long-term damage to themselves. And I suppose I view it from the perspective as someone who is pretty good at Quitting, mercifully for me -- if anything, because of assorted childhood reasons, I skew towards the fangs-bared "NO FUCK YOU I CAN'T DO THIS AND I KNOW WHEN I CAN'T SO STOP TELLING ME I CAN" response. I can be tenacious with things that are unpleasant and difficlt, but only if I'm also finding them in some sense rewarding.

To me, the Barkley seems way less "Quitters Are Pathetic" in its overall attitude than many, many other sport events.

It may be something about ultra-endurance things -- once you get into the extreme distances, it seems to be a given that people will DNF (Did Not Finish) sometimes, even the most elite. And it sometimes seems that people get into it more in pursuit of self-exploration than to prove that they're Tougher Than That Guy.

Obviously, I'm strictly an armchair comentator here, because I personally hate running with a deep passion and dislike having to engage in almost any "endurance" type activity. But this is one of the very few running things where I've felt a spark of interest -- oh, they might be doing something non-standard and interesting here, that maybe resonates on some level with things I'm interested in.

.....AND THAT WAS A DISCONNECTED RAMBLE, but yeah.

No, good ramble! Making important points!

(Hence the delayed ramble in response, because I am still recovering brain function.)
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)

From: [personal profile] sholio


That's really interesting for me to think about, because one thing the description of the Barkley reminded me of is long-distance dogsled racing, which is a Big Deal(TM) in Alaska. And it's very normalized in the culture of it that winning isn't really the big thing, it's more the effort and the willingness to try at all. Some people compete hard to win, but even the top performers, the people who win all the races, have still lost an occasional race because of stopping to help somebody along the trail whose dogs ran away from them or whatever. There's no stigma to finishing last; failing to finish is not even THAT big of a deal because it happens to a lot of people, and most people who do it repeatedly year after year have at least one year when luck or health failed them and they couldn't make it either.

It's not quite as extreme as the Barkley on the failure scale - it is still a competitive sport - but people who do it as well as people who follow it as a sport generally recognize that it's a heroically difficult thing to do, and that most people who do it, do it as a personal challenge and/or because they find that sort of thing fun, not because they're competing with each other as such.
nenya_kanadka: Love is greater than anger, hope is greater than fear, optimism is better than despair (@ Jack Layton quote)

From: [personal profile] nenya_kanadka


^^^^THIS!

I was trying to think of a way of describing my huge visceral NOPE!! to something like this, and you've pretty much nailed it.

In my case it was a big dose of "he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved" said by authority figures who neither knew nor cared what I needed or what was too much.

And I was an asthmatic as a child, so learned right quick that athletic stuff in particular meant pain and failure. These days I have discovered a few things that let me take joy in what my body can do, but most of the things I hope to achieve are not physically taxing. And being able to set my own limits, including some NO!s, is very important to me.

I hear you on writing, too. :D

isis: me in an awesome trail race!  (running)

From: [personal profile] isis


I have run nine marathons (including Boston) and one 50K (31 miles) trail ultramarathon, and run the Imogene Pass Run (17 miles on a jeep road over a 13,120' pass, gaining over 5k and then losing over 4k feet; that's me doing it in my icon) five times.

The thing about your definition is that - I like doing difficult things that are fun, but I hate being miserable. And I know a lot of people assume that because I'm a marathoner (and a relatively fast marathoner considering my age and gender) I must love pain and misery, but no! I don't consider long-distance running de facto painful or miserable! I mean, toward the end of a marathon or ultra, I really really really want to be finished, any time now, please, where is the end, but I am not miserable, I don't want to quit, I just want to get to the damned finish line.

Misery for me is sleep deprivation. Running (or trying to run, or walking) through mud. Dense bushwacking. And so although I'd like to run a few more 50Ks and a 50M or 100K, I am discriminating in the ones I consider (major stream crossings? forget it), and I have no interest in 100-milers, and I have absolutely no interest in attempting the Barkley.

But I do attempt difficult things that don't seem like they will be miserable all the time. Last summer I rode my mountain bike 210 miles over 7 days through two mountain ranges, and it was super hard and the last hour of each day was approaching my limit, but I did it. (One day WAS misery. It rained all day and the red clay trail surface turned to mud and I had to push and carry my bike for three miles (which took three hours) while slipping and sliding, and it was horrific. I hated it. I only kept going because no other option.)

So basically, there is no specific difficult thing that I might want to do that I haven't done or wouldn't do if the opportunity arose - but there are specific difficult things I am NOPE NOPE NOPE about, and the Barkley is one of them.
isis: (squid etching)

From: [personal profile] isis


It's not really a runner's high, just - I like running! I like being good at running. I like the way it feels when my body is doing what I'm asking it to do even though it's challenging, and I like passing other people, and I like setting a goal and achieving it, and I like winning (well, placing in my age group), and all these things add up. Running is fun for me, mostly, and I am super-competitive, so the fact that I'm a pretty good runner gives me additional egoboo.
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)

From: [personal profile] sholio


Ha, wow. :D The Barkley sounds amazing in every sense. I was going to say I would never do it, but then I started reading the article and wondering if any Alaskans have ever tried it (Alaska being what it is, you really can't throw a rock in any direction without hitting a completely cray-cray ultramarathon up here, like the Iditarod Trail Invitational, which is a thousand-mile foot race through the Alaskan wilderness in winter) and wondering how hard it would actually be -- answer: probably WAY TOO HARD FOR ME, but I'm morbidly curious.

It's really not that I am in any way an athletic person, but the casual level of closeness to actually doing that kind of thing here is -- closer, I think, than most places. Most people have not only at least tried something along those lines (not nearly at that level of difficulty, more like bushwacking through unexplored wilderness, whitewater rafting 500 miles from anywhere, running a marathon; that kind of thing is just "baseline normal, everyone probably tries this once"), and most people have their own "that time I almost died in the wilderness" story -- chased by moose, lost in a blizzard, almost drowned, etc. Most people do actually know at least one person who HAS actually died in the wilderness. (I do -- among other people, my dentist back in the '90s was killed in an avalanche while snowmobiling in the mountains, and a neighbor when I was a kid was an amateur bush pilot who flew too low and got tangled up in trees.)

My actual ability to push my physical limits when I was a teenager was high, but it was just necessary, not something I went out of my way to do. I grew up as a (partly) disabled kid in the middle of nowhere, in a cabin that was only accessible via landing a float plane on a creek and then walking up a 4-mile trail. So there really wasn't much of a choice about it. I once fell down a hill and broke my leg and walked back to the cabin on a broken leg because what ELSE are you gonna do, just lie there? During the year or so that I was recovering from that (the tl;dr is that I have a fragile bone disorder, so I used to break things a lot and they heal slowly) my grandfather died and I talked my mom into leaving me out there to watch the cabin by myself while she supported her mom through the funeral preparations, having figured out ways that I could, while on crutches, do daily chores which included carrying 5-gallon buckets of water to the house up a hill. I did it by picking up the buckets, moving them a step forward, moving me a step forward, repeat until house is achieved.

The woods I grew up in were just miserable for hiking through -- all the things [personal profile] isis was describing above as miserable things, WE HAD SO MUCH OF. Creek crossings, dense tangles of brush, no trails, extreme vertical climbs, slogging through swamps. Not to mention chokingly dense mosquitoes (plus, in my case, being on crutches a fair amount of the time). We did it, though, because those were our woods for hiking in, and we were damn well going to hike in them. XD

I think as I've gotten older I've become a lot less willing to do hard things just for the sake of doing hard things. But I actually DO feel like it's psychologically healthy, for me anyway, to keep pushing myself occasionally and not let myself fall into the trap of only doing things that are easy. I was cluebatted with that when I had to drive in Britain this summer. I honestly have to say, that stupid easy thing, driving in a country with reversed traffic flow, is literally one of the hardest things I've ever had to make myself do, in terms of emotional fortitude. I still can't believe how hard that was. I'm not great with spatial-relationship stuff anyway, and having to reverse everything in my head -- all the driving-related tasks, including not only which way you do everything on the street, but also which hand you shift with and where the mirrors are -- at high speeds while frequently having near brushes with death, and being increasingly terrified of it the more times I almost got sideswiped by a car or went the wrong way around a roundabout, and all of this while trying to explore new places and visit and be social and basically act normal, just blitzed my brain. It was one of the most fucking exhausting things I've ever done in my life, and this includes things like a near-vertical off-trail hike in the mountains in which I lost nearly 5% of my body weight in 24 hours from water loss. I would lie in bed at night for hours absolutely paralyzed with terror of having to do it again the next day. I rarely reached any destination without getting out of the car and collapsing in tears from accumulated stress that I'd been pushing down while I was focused on driving. But I did it! I'm not going to say I did it well, but by the end I was actually managing to navigate reasonably well, I did not fail to drive to a single place I was planning on going because of being terrified of it, and I took that damn rental car back 2 weeks later without a single scratch on it.

And ... it felt good, afterwards. It made me realize that, left to my own devices, I do let myself slide on willpower stuff a lot of the time. I like the way that I feel when I manage to do something that's really hard. It makes me feel more capable of doing other things that are hard, and I guess that's why people do things like the Barkley in the first place.

... that said, I think [personal profile] recessional makes a really good point about not doing things that are miserable that you don't get any benefit out of. Which honestly is why I haven't done a lot of things I used to want to do in my life, because I grew up and realized that the benefit I'd get from having done them would be much less than the amount of misery I'd suffer through in order to accomplish them, and so, nope. It's definitely good to be able to draw that line. Honestly I think part of growing up -- or, I should say, a very useful skill to acquire in becoming a well-adjusted adult -- is learning the difference between doing an unpleasant thing because you want to do it and the result is worth it, and doing it because someone else wants you to do it or because you feel you should.

(Wow, self: long comment much??)
Edited Date: 2017-01-23 11:46 pm (UTC)
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)

From: [personal profile] sholio


YES THAT. I really think you can relate better than almost anyone I know, aside from the nonzero (but still small) number of people I actually know in Alaska who had a similar kind of childhood - hazardous, strange, totally foreign to most city-living Americans, surrounded by hostile wilderness and crazy people. Under very different circumstances (and much less traumatically in my case, I'm pretty sure) but I think it's relatable.

And yeah, that's the aspect of the Barkley that hits me exactly. There is NO WAY I could do it in the allotted time. I don't even jog. But I'm not only reasonably confident I could deal with that kind of challenging terrain, but the idea of trying is weirdly appealing.
sholio: bear raising paw and text that says "hi" (Bear)

From: [personal profile] sholio


... lol, and then in a coincidental display of Alaskana, I know there is a moose browsing in the yard, because I saw it just a few minutes ago out the window, but now it's vanished so I DON'T KNOW WHERE IT IS. Which would be fine except I have to go across the yard to feed the boiler (we have an outdoor wood/coal boiler), and I know there has been a very aggressive cow moose with two calves hanging around, and I think this was one of the calves. Also, it's getting dark and it's fifteen below zero, so the house is going to cool off pretty quickly if I don't keep the fire going.

Frozen or stomped - just an everyday sort of decision around here. XD
Edited Date: 2017-01-24 01:19 am (UTC)
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)

From: [personal profile] sholio


I did actually find it shortly afterwards! I think when I was looking for it earlier, it must have been right up against the creek bank where it was hidden from view (I first spotted it in the frozen-over creek beside our house, browsing on willows). Anyway, it climbed out and spent some time browsing around the deck this afternoon.

SDC17258

SDC17256
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)

From: [personal profile] sholio


This morning's sequel:

SDC17261

I went outside when I got up as usual to feed the boiler, did my usual "look both ways before crossing the yard" thing, saw no moose, and proceeded. When I came back in, I went upstairs to check my email, came back down, and literally JUMPED because Ma and Kiddo were RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE WINDOW. They had to have been somewhere on the blind side of the house where the garage is -- either that, or they'd just come into the yard and were moving fairly quickly through the yard. (By the time I ran upstairs and got my camera, they'd already moved into the trees at the edge of the yard. They're totally gone now.)

But yeah, I've lived around them all my life, and they're STILL super weird. They look like a made-up animal. And still pictures don't even do justice to it, because they have a high-stepping "show horse" type gait, due to walking through deep snow. Here's one deciding to fight a pickup truck because she thinks it's after her babies:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-4p9be2sR4

You can also really see the "show horse" thing with the legs when this one is chasing a dog:

https://youtu.be/eSQjzmfrIxk?t=74
Edited Date: 2017-01-24 07:41 pm (UTC)
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)

From: [personal profile] sholio


I can believe them showing up on Earth in, say, the Pleistocene. It's having them on Earth now that is weird. Like fanged deer, there is something just not right about it.
loligo: Scully with blue glasses (Default)

From: [personal profile] loligo


I came back to see if there'd been a moose encounter -- and lo, there was!

At our old house we had coyotes and snapping turtles in the yard, and presumably venomous snakes once in a while though we never made a sure ID. But ironically it was the ticks that turned out to be the most dangerous...
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)

From: [personal profile] sholio


Oh, those are cool too, though! :D Coyotes are really neat, and I've never seen a snapping turtle.
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)

From: [personal profile] rydra_wong


I just wanted to thank you for posting the pics and to say that I am in suitable awe of your TERRIFYING PREHISTORIC MEGAFAUNA OMFG.
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)

From: [personal profile] sholio


Thank you! :D Ha, it's interesting how living with terrifying prehistoric megafauna is something you never really get blasé about. You can see moose every day for a week and it's still WHOA, MOOSE!!
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)

From: [personal profile] rydra_wong


Also you should totally post these to [community profile] common_nature. Your everyday backyard wildlife sightings are a lot more impressive than most people's. *g*
snippy: Lego me holding book (Default)

From: [personal profile] snippy


No, I wouldn't do it. I have nothing to prove in that area--the ability to tolerate misery. I've been a hero, that's enough-I've saved other people's lives and my own, and I resent the necessity, I don't celebrate my achievement. I've endured hunger and cold and neglect and abuse as a child, I don't see anything to be gained for myself by choosing them to test my adulthood. My tests are other: can I be a different person from the people who did it to me? Can I be a different person from the one who did what it took to survive (because the behaviors and choices that you learn in order to survive abuse turn out to be counter-survival among healthy adults)?
mildred_of_midgard: (Default)

From: [personal profile] mildred_of_midgard


Physical challenges are not for me, alas. I think maybe I am drawn to characters who have great physical stamina, athletic/combat skills, etc. just because it's so the opposite of me. (Characters being very different from me keeps me from going "This is boring, I already have that covered" or, worse, "You're doing it wrong/I could do it better.")

As for hard things I would consider doing if all the obstacles were wiped away, you mentioned the bar exam, so I'm sure you'll be shocked to learn that I have daydreamed about taking the MCAT since high school. ;)

I think studying for it would be interesting in the absence of other concrete uses to put this information to, and I'm curious to see how I would fare.

Obstacles: you have to get special permission to take it if you're not applying to medical school, you can only apply to medical school if you're planning on being a medical practitioner, I don't want to be a medical practitioner. I mean, one could lie! Or I could rack my brains to come up with a good enough reason to get special permission. But the payoff of knowing the answer to "could I pass the MCAT?" doesn't seem worth the effort.

Now, on why I don't want to be a medical practitioner, the proximate causes are: I don't want to do lab work, and I don't want to deal with patients.

The ultimate cause is: I recently had an insight that my entire personality, life history, interests, and skills follow from the fact that my brain is internally focused to a degree that is extremely unusual, and I keep my physical and social interactions with the world to the minimum necessary to keep my brain a happy place. Labs and patients are too physical and social respectively for me.

This is why CrowdMed is so great. Once I'm done writing this fic, I am going back to science in a serious way after a very long detour, and patient cases are great for providing focused puzzles to solve as opposed to a goal of "master this field," which always causes me to get lost and confused. I either need a teacher to guide me, or I need specific problems to tackle.
mildred_of_midgard: (Default)

From: [personal profile] mildred_of_midgard


Yeah, the reason I know for certain that I was interested in the MCAT as early as high school is because I remember checking out a prep guide from the public library and my parents commenting on it in the car. I probably will tackle one of the practice tests one day.

I agree! I get to do the intellectual puzzle-solving, I'm optimistic that I'll manage to help someone there someday (maybe not till after the fic), and I don't have to leave my computer! Win all around.

Technical issues may end being a plus anyway. ;) Although it's not the technical issues that have my blood up, it's the methodological issues. Stop penalizing wrong diagnoses! I know you think wrong is bad but it's not! Better yet, have a section for proposing tests/procedures (preferably where the patient can store the results), those are more valuable than guessing at diagnoses. Etc.! Argh.
likeadeuce: (Default)

From: [personal profile] likeadeuce


I am an advocate of the joy and wonder of quitting, with the happy bonus that whenever I manage to finish anything I feel pretty good about it.

I've taken the bar exam. It's not that excited.

I do feel this way about a Ph.D. , probably in history or some literary field that involves analyzing historical texts. Most people I know who have gotten a PhD were actively miserable much of the time, and only a few have gotten viable career paths out of it, but I do love the idea of taking the time to dive in and just become an expert in one thing.

I have also briefly wondered about medical school/ all the stuff you hear about residency, solely because it's hard, but I realized pretty quickly that even if I could get through it, I wouldn't want to practice medicine on any level, I'm too squeamish about bodily functions + I would get stressed out by the responsibility.

When I read Wild I briefly thought about doing a lengthy hike which is ridiculous because I'm not in shape for it and do not particularly enjoy even SHORT hikes, much less the discipline required for the kind of hiking she did. I think part of what's appealing is NOT having the option to quit.
skygiants: Nellie Bly walking a tightrope among the stars (bravely trotted)

From: [personal profile] skygiants


I am an incredibly physically lazy person who is generally pretty allergic to strenuous exercise -- the sensation of 'LUNGS TOO SMALL, MUST WAIT FIVE MINUTES TO BREATHE PROPERLY AGAIN' is one I deeply detest -- so the idea of the sort of marathon that involves work holds negative appeal for me. However, I do sometimes wonder how I would do at the kind of marathon that involves not-doing rather than doing -- hunger strikes, staying awake for exceptionally long periods of time, that kind of thing. Endurance of just enduring. I've had a number of long red-eye flights over the past couple years and scheduled myself to Do Stuff without break on the other end, and I tell myself it's so I can more easily reset, but probably it is just as much to prove to myself that I can.

Possibly relatedly, when I was a kid I used to practice jumping off of increasingly high things (trees, the top of jungle gyms, etc.) which I like to think is part of the reason I have never broken a bone; I got very, very good at falling.
cyphomandra: boats in Auckland Harbour. Blue, blocky, cheerful (boats)

From: [personal profile] cyphomandra


I actually have a Barkley race report open in one of my other tabs... here
I like running and have done three half marathons and a few three hour rogaines (not the 24 hour versions), and I spent my teenage years orienteering (well, or reading). I'd like to get back into running but not at that level of anticipated misery!
rydra_wong: Text: "Your body is a battleground" over photo of 19th-C strongwoman. (body -- battleground)

From: [personal profile] rydra_wong


Thanks for the race report link -- that's fascinating (and horrifying and kind of awesome, like most Barkley-related things).
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)

From: [personal profile] lilacsigil


When I was 15, I went on the Hike of Doom. Everyone in my year level had to do a three-day hike, but the teacher in charge was vastly over-optimistic about not just the students' skills and tenacity, but that of the unqualified and inexperienced parents and teachers accompanying them. And then the weekend itself had ferociously bad weather with high winds and heavy rain for the first two days - all the other schools cancelled their camps in the area, let alone hikes.

Two of the five groups had to be rescued, one group had to carry out their teacher, the other two groups (including mine) made it at the cost of injuries and leeches and dangerous river fording which we really shouldn't have done. In our group, there were two big sturdy girls, and we ended up dragging the four lightweight girls and adult (my mother) across cliff-faces and exposed hills, carrying them piggyback across a flooding creek, and then had to carry out 25kg packs because the other girls and my mother couldn't manage both the vile weather, the 17km daily hikes and the 15kg max weight of their packs. It was an absolute disaster except that we were the only group that didn't get lost, I'm still astonished nobody died, and I have no intention of pushing myself like that ever again if I don't have to. I am no longer very fit, but I am pretty strong and have endurance, and a great sense of direction, but I don't want to have to use it.

The teacher in charge thought it was all great experience, and despite parents pushing for him to be fired, the only change made was that the adults involved had to be experienced in the wilderness. He was left in charge for another three years until he got fired for having sex with 18-year-old female students.
recessional: a white mug with the words "Fucking tea." (personal; don't even)

From: [personal profile] recessional


The teacher in charge thought it was all great experience, and despite parents pushing for him to be fired, the only change made was that the adults involved had to be experienced in the wilderness. He was left in charge for another three years until he got fired for having sex with 18-year-old female students.

I would like to comment on this via interpretive dance, but then all my stuff would get broken Jesus H Frog Almighty. o.o
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)

From: [personal profile] lilacsigil


Even better, it turned out that the teacher had done it before. He'd been a stay-at-home dad for three years before coming to work at our school, which everyone thought was amazingly progressive (this was in 1989). After he was fired and the Education Department notified, teachers from his previous school came forward to say he'd done the same thing at his last job and the school, in order to cover it up, let him resign with a three year non-compete clause. So he and his wife just moved out of the city to where nobody knew them, served out the three years on her income, then got straight back to abusing students.
vass: A sepia-toned line-drawing of a man in naval uniform dancing a hornpipe, his crotch prominent (Default)

From: [personal profile] vass


safdjklsadf jklasdfklj;sadflkj; ljk;sadflkj;sadflkjsdfljk; >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>:(

(was this the same school with the, um, well, not, "interesting" isn't really the word, is it, idea of what constitutes appropriate gifted ed?)
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)

From: [personal profile] lilacsigil


It was! In many ways it was a really good school - very strong on anti-bullying for one thing - but it attracted a lot of weird teachers who hadn't got along in the city for whatever reason. Some of them were fantastic, and some of them were, well, the opposite.
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

From: [personal profile] kate_nepveu


I have a lot of weird complicated feelings about having given birth with epidurals (before the C-sections became necessary, that is). I have no intention of doing that again, but I do think about it.
loligo: Scully with blue glasses (Default)

From: [personal profile] loligo


Andy and I walked across England for our honeymoon -- or technically, he walked across England and I skipped 20 miles in the middle. So that tells you right there I'm a quitter.

I was doing fine for the first 5 or so days of the trek, ranging 8-15 miles per day. But then we had a 21-mile day, and my feet just gave out. I had to make it to our next B & B, so I kept putting one foot in front of the other, trying to mentally distance myself from the pain. When we got there, I sat on the floor of the shower and sobbed.

I was able to walk the next morning, so I walked, though I started developing shin splints that took months to heal after the hike. I walked every day as long as our mileage was under 20, but when it came to a 23-mile day, I asked our luggage service if I could ride with them. I met Andy at a pub near the end of that day's mark, so we figure I missed about 20 miles. And I am totally okay with that decision. I never think "Oh, if only I could TRUTHFULLY say I've walked across England!"

I am easily overwhelmed by things. When they were handing out gumption, you probably got my share.

But I've realized in recent years that the real core of the problem is that when I'm overwhelmed by something, be it a physical sensation, or an emotion like anxiety, I lose my inner balance to such a great extent that I feel like I don't exist anymore. I lose my sense of self, and become nothing but the horrible sensation. It's like the dark side of "the flow" that people are always talking about.

I do experience the positive version of the flow sensation, and I really enjoy it, but for me, positive flow always involves eagerly taking in and tasting and cataloging sensations at a pace that is comfortable for me. When the sensations or emotions come faster than I can process them, I just have to shut down.

I have a lot of feelings of inadequacy about being this way, so I tend not to contemplate questions like "what awesomely challenging thing would I do if I could?" Because I can't.

I mean, I guess I have done some things that some people might find challenging. I got my PhD by age 26. But my ability to persist and achieve in intellectual/artistic pursuits was trashed once the kids arrived, so I don't foresee any grand challenges in my future.
nenya_kanadka: toy kangaroo joey: "You will roo the day u messed with me" (@ Roo the day)

From: [personal profile] nenya_kanadka


when I'm overwhelmed by something, be it a physical sensation, or an emotion like anxiety, I lose my inner balance to such a great extent that I feel like I don't exist anymore. I lose my sense of self, and become nothing but the horrible sensation

Yeah, I get, like, existential panic. WHAT IF THIS NEVER ENDS? What if this misery is what ALL OF LIFE was really all about all along, and I've just been cheating somehow by not experiencing it 24/7, and now it's time to pay the piper??

Quite unpleasant.

I consider it a victory that you made it across England AND that you noped out for the part you had to. That was wisdom right there.
loligo: Scully with blue glasses (Default)

From: [personal profile] loligo


I feel most centered and grounded, most *myself*, when three conditions are met: I am alone, I'm observing something, and I'm thinking about it. The ideal state for me is calm awareness -- all my attention is focused outward on something interesting, but I am totally in control of what I attend to and whether or how I respond to it. When my attention is forced onto something (like a physical sensation or emotion that I can't ignore) or the situation is demanding responses from me faster than I can deliberately choose them (an event with unclear social protocols for an emotional example, or driving fast on roads I don't know for a physical example), I feel like I'm being erased.

I can tolerate low levels of that sensation (a.k.a. "normal life") for a long time, though it makes me unhappy. I can only tolerate high levels of that sensation for a short time before I really freak out. I honestly am not sure how I survived the first year of Chuckles's life -- sometimes Andy would come home from work and I would be half out of my mind and physically shaking.

Being alone and assimilating information without being forced to respond to it always helps me calm down. Thank god for the internet!! (And before that, thank god for books.) And along those same lines, when I was having panic attacks when my allergy was first diagnosed, I found the technique that you had linked to of counting or describing objects around me to be pretty helpful.

All of this raises an interesting idea -- there actually IS one challenging thing that I would like to try someday, and that is spending some significant amount of time totally alone, out in the wilderness where it would take real effort to reach another person. (Preferably not camping though -- an isolated luxury cabin would be fine *g*) I wonder how long I could handle it? Honestly, I think the enjoyment would wear off after the first 24-48 hours, but I suspect I could tolerate it for far longer than that.
nextian: From below, a woman and a flock of birds. (Default)

From: [personal profile] nextian


(i went to law school and took the bar exam and the barkley is a very very very very very very very good metaphor for those three years and then three days of my life, lmfao)

I've always really wanted to hike the PCT. There's really no conceivable universe where I have the free time and disposable income to do it while I'm still young and healthy enough to want to, but that's the dream I'm privately convinced I Could do, and wish I Had done, to be honest.

From: [personal profile] tool_of_satan


I had that same realization, but in between taking the LSAT and actually applying to law school, which saved me a lot of time and money. :)
oursin: Sleeping hedgehog (sleepy hedgehog)

From: [personal profile] oursin


This was recently in The Guardian: I immediately thought of it when reading this post. Ultra-running is one of the fastest growing sports, usually taking place in remote, scenic landscapes. Not a running track in London. Will competitors reach nirvana?

Not Quite My Sort Of Thing, Duckie, is my general response as I stagger towards my fainting couch, but hey, diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks. I would say that I had fairly optimum conditions for doing a PhD part-time while in a full-time job, but it's still a challenge and I wouldn't go around saying everyone could or should do it.
rydra_wong: Text: "Your body is a battleground" over photo of 19th-C strongwoman. (body -- battleground)

From: [personal profile] rydra_wong


Proper reply to follow (at some point, brain permitting); this is just to say that I'm so delighted to see you writing this up and that you enjoyed it.

And yes, the Barkley is pretty much the only running-involving thing that's made me feel a flicker of personal interest. Subject to magic-wand-waving (which for me would obviously include being in an alternate reality where I am not a climber above everything else), I'd totally want to try Barkley.
rydra_wong: A dancer (Anie Hanauer) crouches in a performance by Candoco. She has a prosthetic arm. (body -- annie)

From: [personal profile] rydra_wong


P.S. Okay to signal-boost in [community profile] bodies_in_motion? I think it would be highly relevant to people's interests.
rydra_wong: A dancer (Anie Hanauer) crouches in a performance by Candoco. She has a prosthetic arm. (body -- annie)

From: [personal profile] rydra_wong


Linked, and you may wish to keep an eye on comments over there too, because [personal profile] juliet just posted a completely terrifying and awesome comment about doing the kinds of long-distance bikes races where you hallucinate from sleep deprivation.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)

From: [personal profile] rmc28


I wouldn't do the Barkley because I'm not interested in doing stuff just because it's hard. I like long-distance running and I like navigating and moving actively outdoors, but the Barkley seems to be about finding the most miserable way possible to do those things, and I'm not interested in that.

See also, I write and maintain code for my day job, as does my spouse. Spouse has won the International Obfuscated C Contest; I regard the entire existence of the contest with vague bafflement, because I already spend enough of my time fixing bad and obscure code, why would I find it fun to make more?

I've power-walked a marathon and run a half-marathon and in both cases it was hard and I definitely did NOT like the last quarter or so of each, but I also liked how it felt to be able to do that kind of effort. "Being able to run a half-marathon again" is one of my driving goals for my recovering-from-cancer fitness plan.

vass: A running shoe with a foot in it (Walking)

From: [personal profile] vass


So many things. SO MANY. My ego is all about the big ridiculous challenges.

(I actually did try to join the army reserves when I was 19 or so. Stupid, stupid idea. I was a pacifist, and I didn't know anyone at all who'd ever served. I asked them if they'd take me as a medic, and if so, if I'd be allowed not to carry a weapon. So I would be there patching people up, not hurting them. The recruiter said no, and got it through my head that if a medic did not defend themself, someone else would need to be deployed to defend them. I took the point and decided not to enlist. Kept getting recruiting letters from them a full year after that.)

I still want to run or walk a marathon, and I'm very dubious that I could do it without permanently injuring myself, which is why I haven't yet committed to the training regimen. (I'm very heavy and moderately hypermobile and have hip issues. So chances of damaging my joints are good.)

What I've sometimes had trouble making people understand when I occasionally talk about this is that it's not the marathon itself that makes me go all dreamy-eyed. Running 42.195km is cool and all, but that's not the awesome part for me.

The race day is the culmination of twenty-four weeks of training after at least a year of slow and steady base-building, and THAT'S the awesome part. It's that long-range planning, successfully followed through that I find exciting. The scope of it.
vass: A running shoe with a foot in it (Walking)

From: [personal profile] vass


I do swim, yeah. And I've done strength training before, and might go back to that this year. It's a nice challenge because the n00b gains are so encouraging, and I put on muscle relatively easily (compared to other types of fitness.)

That one is going to have to go the other way around.

Yeah. :(
dhampyresa: (Default)

From: [personal profile] dhampyresa


I second the suggestion for swimming. The water massively reduces strain on the joints, because it's carrying your weight, not the joints.
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)

From: [personal profile] liv


I have completed a PhD, and that's probably the most difficult, endurance requiring thing I'll ever do. I wouldn't have done it just to prove I could do something difficult, though, I actually wanted to be a career academic and found the research interesting in its own right.

I'm pretty uninterested in feats of physical endurance. I hate pain, which sounds obvious, everybody hates pain, that's why we call it pain, but I find any kind of pain or discomfort really distressing. I've had nurses laugh at me for being a wimp, and I'm finding it hard to establish a baseline routine of regular, just keeping healthy exercise because I don't deal well with minor physically bad feelings.

The only completely ridiculous thing I've considered doing along those lines is a leg of a tall ships race. Partly because that's a situation where you just have to keep going no matter if how much you want to bail, because you're stuck there on a ship in the middle of the ocean. I like the idea of mastering the mechanical side of sailing, and the idea of being part of a team who would go through the misery and terror together.

If everything about my life were different and I had a magic wand, I have sometimes contemplated fostering severely disabled or severely traumatized children. I don't even have or want kids of my own, even imagining them to be "normal" levels of healthy and easy to look after. But doing something for a defined period of time that would be unimaginably hard but would actually make a real, tangible difference to another person's life, that does kind of appeal to me. (I watched a documentary when I was a kid about a couple who fostered dying children who had been abandoned by, or forcibly removed from, their parents, and I have since had this small thought way in the back of my mind.)
recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)

From: [personal profile] recessional


I'm finding it hard to establish a baseline routine of regular, just keeping healthy exercise because I don't deal well with minor physically bad feelings.

I would like to offer you the fist-bump of solidarity here. For me it's that for some reason the sensations associated with sweat and a certain kind of fatigue are somehow actually worse than pain (my relationship with pain is weird), but it has a similar detrimental effect.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)

From: [personal profile] sophia_sol


This is fascinating and horrifying to me and I would never want to do the Barkley because it sounds utterly miserable. AND YET at the same time I understand the appeal?

It's a combination of enough things that I know I do not deal well with (the worst is being massively sleep deprived, which is a huge no - but also having to get unlost after getting lost, and the feeling of maybe not making any actual appreciable progress towards a goal, and not being able to take a dang break) with things I know I do: interesting physical and mental challenges and being able to prove to myself that I can succeed at them.

I am also just not nearly hardcore enough in my physical abilities right now to be able to do it.

I have imagined hiking the pacific coastal trail though. I would never actually do it for a couple of reasons (the parts of long-distance hiking that appeal to me the least: not being able to escape the mosquitoes, and having to carry all your supplies/gear for the trip on your back) but if I could exist in a world where those weren't factors, I would totally be a hiker. And the pacific coast trail in particular because a hiking trail that involves ladders and bridges and magnificent rainforest scenery! Aww yeah!

Instead I go back-country canoe tripping, where the mosquitoes are far away on land and the canoe carries your stuff for you (except when you do a portage). Sometimes the way I feel at the end of a portage makes me think that I could be a hiker after all - I love how satisfying it is to carry a canoe by myself over a long portage, because of how hard-but-doable it is (your phrase "certain weird values of fun that include most of it being painful and miserable" applies, especially when the canoe is aluminum). But swarms of biting insects are really a dealbreaker. Plus I am not actually into the excessive degree of minimalism required to pack reasonably for a multi-day backpacking trip.

From: [identity profile] asakiyume.livejournal.com


I've met lots of people who are better than me at every other thing I'm good at. I have never met anyone who's better than me at not giving up.

I LOVE that. I, on the other hand, am a champion giver-upper. But on many occasions I circle back and try again. Still, I just love and admire to pieces that doggedness and determination.

I'm going to send a link to this entry to [livejournal.com profile] wakanomori. It sounds like something he'd be very intrigued by.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


Actually, I think "circle back and try again" is probably more important than "keep going." At least, it's the single most important quality in trauma recovery.

From: [identity profile] asakiyume.livejournal.com


That makes me feel a lot better about my approach--thanks!

In answer to your question at the end of the post, the challenges I've wanted to tackle, I've pretty much tried to tackle (though in a limited way--not the sort of all-out ultimate way you're talking about here). I've never been moved to test my physical limits because I've always been keenly aware of them. My approach *now* is to gradually work at increasing them, gradually making myself stronger, more endure-ful.

From: [identity profile] swan-tower.livejournal.com


Hell to the no I would not do it; I loathe running and the Barkley sounds to me like a circle of hell Dante forgot to mention. <g>

Other kinds of difficult things . . . nothing leaps to mind, honestly, except maybe writing a really long series (i.e. more than a trilogy, telling one continuous rather than episodic story).

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


No idle dreams of spending a year in Okinawa doing nothing but karate, taught by a master?

From: [identity profile] swan-tower.livejournal.com


Not really, no. I enjoy karate, but not so much that I would want to lay aside everything in my life to focus on it.

Edit: and, well. I'm already being taught by a master (ninth dan). And I'll be going to Okinawa this summer to spend a week or so training. So it's really the "focus entirely on this" part that's unavailable to me, and not that compelling.
Edited Date: 2017-01-24 12:42 am (UTC)

From: [identity profile] sartorias.livejournal.com


I never would, but I'd appreciate people's stories. There is too much of the kind of physical discomfort I loathe, and I've been in enough physically challenging scenarios of many kinds, even when I was in hardcore physical condition, to want any more of them.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


Fencing in the Olympics? (Assume funding, no arthritis, peak of your skills, etc.)

From: [identity profile] sartorias.livejournal.com


Naw. I was chosen to train for the junior Olympics team (which at that time only permitted women foil, and I wanted to study saber, which I could only do informally with the guys.) But I absolutely loathed the buzzer, and the constraints of the rules, which took all the fun out of fencing. I never had enough competitive spirit to make it all about the points. I had much more fun using the room, not that narrow strip, and doing it with style, not with one eye to the grading system. And matches that lasted two seconds, interrupted by the buzzer, as you waited for a judgment call for awarded points. was just tedious.

Also, the training for competition-level would have taken time away from dance, which I was also doing a lot of. (And theater)
Edited Date: 2017-01-24 06:20 pm (UTC)

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


In retrospect what we both probably would have enjoyed was stage/screen fencing - learn to fight like Errol Flynn.

From: [identity profile] sartorias.livejournal.com


Oh, I did--when I could get a part that let me fence, and when the other person had some serious training. (The two happened very, very rarely.)

However, once I started directing, I could choreograph all my own fights, so that was an unpexpected bennie. Also, one of my co-workers at Lorimar had been training in saber, so he and I used to go up on the roof of the Gable building and saber fence at lunchtime, during my MGM stint. That was AWESOME.

From: [identity profile] sartorias.livejournal.com


At first we went to the MGM gym--but our second visit there some pompous twist producer or director threw out plebe asses out. So we explored around, found an inner stairway to that roof, which was totally flat, and . . . it was great! better than the gym because we had lots of room, and the breeze off the ocean.

From: [identity profile] rushthatspeaks.livejournal.com


I was just thinking the other day about how if I were a person who runs at all I would want to do the Barkley, and how if they will accept ambling it might be something I'd want to try anyway. But it's true I would do better at this sort of challenge if it weren't heavily based on physical fitness. If I were British, I would have spent the last several years trying to be on The Great British Bakeoff, which is in some ways a similar idea.

Also, I've never wanted to climb Mount Everest, but I would like to get close enough to see it. And then pointedly not climb it, because the people who do are often so terrible. But, you know, close enough that I could. If I wanted to. Which I don't. (Does that make any sense?)

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


Once you start, there's no one to watch how fast you're actually going. ;)

I have now read enough about Mount Everest to not want to be associated with the entire endeavor of climbing it, apart from that it involves many things I really hate (extreme cold, terrifying heights, high altitudes, ethical sketchiness, poo, and trash fouling a beautiful environment.) But yeah, I totally get what you mean. There's a lot of things I couldn't/would want to do, but I'd like to get close enough to feel like I could.

From: [identity profile] asakiyume.livejournal.com


LOL, your list of things it involves. (All true! And I agree with you.)

I freeze up on heights; I'm afraid of falling, and yet I've always had a longing to be a tightrope walker. I love balancing, for one thing, and I like--I think, as I write this, this is what's coming to me--I like the idea of being in (apparent) danger, and yet safe by virtue of my own deep skill (LOL, it's outrageous).
ivy: Two strands of ivy against a red wall (Default)

From: [personal profile] ivy


Similar feelings about smaller scales have led me to day hike as far up Mount Rainier as I can, but never to try the full ascent. I've done nearly-as-tall mountains in Colorado as day hikes, but ugggh sleeping on snow, I hate winter camping.
ivy: Two strands of ivy against a red wall (Default)

From: [personal profile] ivy


There are lots of people who just hike to base camp, have a look, and then hike out again. That's totally a thing.
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