Viewing entries tagged
adventure

Finding My Flow

Finding My Flow

2 miles in I am still feeling a tightness to the point of pain in my tibialis anterior muscle that I can't seem to shake. My hamstring is burning and every step is telling me to slow down, stop, but I can't. I have 8-10 more miles to go and my team is counting on me. The pain I know will subside, but when?

4 miles in I am now focused on my breathing, I have been so focused on my legs I am letting my heart rate increase to the wrong zone. I am deliberate now. With the pain decreasing each step forward I am focusing in. I take one breath per 6 steps, then one breath out per 3 steps. This slows my heart.

I become zoned in, six steps then three, six steps then three, it becomes my rhythm. My pace. My surroundings are a blur. It is this state that I try to maintain. When I do, I forget the pain, I forget the boredom, and the stress.

It is this that I strive for each run, climb, or hike. It feels great when I do, but many things derail me. A dragging toe on a root, a passer by, or a simple thought of an email I forgot to send. These small thing make huge impacts on my mental state. I notice when I am bored I shorten my run. When I am not warming up I slow my pace. When I am thinking of work or life, I burn myself out. When I zone in and focus, I go that extra mile.

I am still learning, getting faster, and improving with each stride. My goal of completing an ultra is becoming a reality, yet seems that I have along way to go. Will I be successful? I don't know but I do know I will continue to push my self, learn, and give it my all each and every day.

Daniel Underbrink

The long run

The long run

A sponsored link popped up in my Facebook feed with a video of a bunch of crazy people running across the desert over a span of 7 days gaining more elevation than Mt Everest, spanning a distance of 273 Km across every landscape imaginable. At first thought, this had to be the most terrible idea in the world, yet as I continued to watch it was everything I dreamed of, I wanted this. I quickly shared the link to broadcast to the world I would take on this challenge but I put a disclaimer in there. I said, 2018, with a big question mark behind it. Seemed like a good goal, far enough out I could learn to run or even chicken out where no one would remember the crazy idea I once had. Yet, as I watched the video over and over again I decided that I should pursue this now, today. 

Fast forward nine months and I am off to a good start and I on my way to my first Ultra Marathon. The first one being just eight months away, i took to the trail with a distance of 20 miles in mind. I grabbed a quick bite, laced up the shoes, and headed for a pretty cool spot near my home that had 6 mile trail loop. I set up at the trail head and took off down the trail.

Mile one, I started to doubt myself, my shins tightened, heart began to elevate, everything felt foreign. My steps felt rough, and my energy low. I stopped at an outlook and thought why am I doing this. I should be fishing, paddling, something other than this, but with determination out weighing my thoughts, I slowly headed my way to the next mile.

Mile by mile I begin to loosen up, into a zone I began to move. With each passing mile, my will became a rhythm. On loop three, well that's where my determination kicked in. I began to see a goal turn in to reality. I passed some kayakers, a gator, and a few sightseers. I passed a lot of things but fatigue I could not. I stopped at mile 15 and took a snap shot of my GPS and headed to my cache of supplies just 2 miles in the distance. Pain begin to set in and fatigue was real as I approached mile 17.

Though I didn't reach my target distance I did reach a milestone, I just ran longer and further than anytime in my life. I PR'd my pace, time, and distance and it was then I knew that i could do this.

- Daniel Underbrink

  

Victory in a pursuit

Tired, sore, and on edge we roll into base camp knowing that we have 24 hours left of our hunt. All was grim as stormy weather and a plethora of hindsight left us at our mental limits as we planned for our final pursuit. Leaving spike camp just hours before, we tossed around ideas as our ambitions grew. A 3:30 am start, along with an tough climb, the high meadow that seemed worlds away became the accord. Nevertheless, Mike headed up the mountain to scout it out and glass our morning destination. As Mike’s silhouette faded into the valley we all pick up the pieces of the prior days and began the chatter on the victory of our pursuit in a different shade. As the light faded the storm intensified, we all scramble to the cook tarp to post up for Mike’s return. Thunder and lightning erupting, we see Mike strolling into camp, head hanging low, we knew the story was a repeat of the days before. He told his tale of the weather, the storm, the stalk, the encounter, and a dance with the giant that to this day roams. Then ever so slightly each word intensified by the flashes of lightening, he changed his tone and uttered the words of success that lay on the mountain above...

- Daniel Underbrink

Mike Kulbeth showing off the arrow of success 

Mike Kulbeth showing off the arrow of success 

An Ode to the River

An Ode to the River

An Ode To The River

by Daniel Underbrink

Backpacking gear, a few cameras, some freeze dried food, a river, and a destination; it was all we needed to attempt our impossible.

Four days gave us plenty of time to cover a hundred Texas miles. Add a slow, winding river, a prevailing headwind, a ten-mile open water crossing and conquer it all on a paddleboard—now you have an adventure.

I wanted to test myself, push my limits, and set a standard for paddling in Texas. I wanted something new. Something that allowed me to become part of the river; I wanted the feeling of an expedition and the possibilities of an adventure.

A paddleboard and the Guadalupe River did just that. When asked about the trip, I normally tell of the crazy storms that hit us on the first two days. I tell of the rain that caused the river to spill its banks and rise more than 15 feet in a few short hours. I tell of the logjams that broke our soul after hours of hard paddling. I tell of the bugs that sucked the life out of us. I tell of the winds that beat us down.

But my mind remembers it differently. It remembers the glide of the paddleboard on the brown Texas floodwater. It remembers the sound of the water, the grip on the paddle, the crackle of the campfire, the voices of friends. I remember the river.

Rivers draw me to their banks, their landscapes, their solitude, their uniqueness; but my method of travel allows me to understand it all. I bought a paddleboard, we planned a trip, and we completed a hundred-mile paddle. It was a test of endurance. It was a test of spirit. It was epic in its own right. It was everything I imagined and more. Yet, it leaves me yearning for more. I want the feeling of the river beneath my feet. I want to go further and further. —Daniel Underbrink

 See the full article published in SUP The Mag