The Last Mile

I love to do epic shit. I love to dream it up. I love to plan it. I love to go out and hammer away at it. I love the feeling of having accomplished something beyond some previously imagined horizon.

And then I like to go home, shower, cram my face full of food and liquid and die a slow death on the couch.

This is not endurance.

If you are a sponsored athlete or some sort of compensated influencer, and outdoor, epic shit is your job, then all that couch time is also part of your job. Hell, maybe you’re laying there in a leg compression contraption, priming your taxed musculature for the next epic shit. Perhaps you have a massage or some expedition support who will minister to your needs.

My wife needs garlic, and I’m the grocery-getter.

My last mile isn’t in the woods. It’s in as precise-as-possible a zig-zag pattern out in the backyard, where those weeds continue to refuse to mow themselves.

The kids have friends, and the friends don’t live nearby. I suspect the fifteen-year-old could drive without either of getting arrested. That’s a suspicion I hatched while dying slowly on the couch. But as it turs out, that solution to this problem is beyond my wife’s tolerance and, to be fair to her, also an egregious breach of our insurance policy. The car has a seat in it at least. This is a last mile I can travel while modestly reclined.

Have you ever run ten miles and then, while still salty and moist, picked up a shovel to plant a shrub? Tough Mudder has missed that trick. At the Spartan Race you can throw a spear and jump through a fire, but can you move three cubic yards of loam from the driveway to the backyard?

I should be their course designer.

Sometimes my last mile isn’t even a physical challenge/distance. Sometimes, the hardest part is just doing some epic, physical shit and then behaving like a decent human. I’ll grant you that decency, consideration, politeness, kindness, nurturing, and patience, are difficult things to pull off any day of the week.

But in the strained hours of calorie-deficit and dehydration that can follow our outdoor adventures, that particular last mile might be the only one worth running.

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