How far can you run without stopping? Before you go throw out some random number now I want you to really think about it first. How far can you REALLY run? I’m looking for a number here. Is it 2 miles? 10 miles? 100 miles? Now, take that number and let me ask you another question. If there were a 200” buck another 500 yards beyond that number in your head, standing broadside with your name it, could you physically take that deer? If you are a true hunter it’s a no brainer…of course you could! I’ll ask again now: How far can you really run?
The truth is that most of us don’t know how far we can REALLY run. Experience has shown me that most people throw in the towel mentally long before the body has seen its limit physically.
Last week I called up my buddy and told him to join me for a morning and afternoon run. It was going to be a big day in the mountains. My goal was to run from Provo Ut, to Midway through the mountains using snowmobile tracks as a way to escape the deep snow. All went well till my buddy at mile 20 said he’d hit THE WALL. “The wall?” I said. “What do you mean?” I inquired. “You look fine to me.” I insisted. You see, I know what the real wall looks like and he had not hit it. He had hit an insignificant bump in the road. You see, hitting the wall in real life is a circus…literally. I know. I’ve been there. In 2008 I was feeling it. I had been running non-stop for just over 22 hours high up in the Wasatch Mountains. Looking down moments earlier I watched mile number 72 tick off on my Garmin. It was 3 a.m. and I was at 10,000 feet when it hit. A loud ringing in my ears came on quick and then all Hell broke loose. I could not run a straight line. Off the trail I went then lights out. Moments later I awoke off the trail and flat on my face then lights out again. From there is a still a blur. From my wife’s account I was found by another runner and hauled off the mountain partially uncontious by jeep and taken to the hospital. A day and lots of IV fluid later I returned home. During that 22 hours I learned a few things. I learned what hitting the wall felt like and I answered the magic question. I could run 72 miles and not one step further. But most importantly, I learned than the human is a darn tough animal.
I learned early on as a hunter that it’s imperative that we respect the animal we hunt. But in return I hope I have earned the respect of the animal I take as well. I’ve never liked the “What skill or asset is most important in hunting?” question because to me it somehow implies that it’s okay to maybe slack off a little on the less important one’s. I believe that a truly lethal hunter is proficient in all areas of hunting leaving nothing on the table. That said, to be in top shape is pure freedom. It liberates the mind and gives our body the ability to go where we please. As stated earlier. The human body by design is one fierce creature. Provided the right fuel and conditioning we are the apex creature and not the one’s we hunt. I’ve always said: “Give a man a spear and the will to live and he will do just that.”
Like everything in life, achieving the freedom that comes with fitness takes time and happens slowly. But it’s possible and it’s NEVER too late to obtain the killer fitness and physical capability that comes pre-wired in our DNA.
-Matt in the Wild