In the Divine Comedy, Dante travels from Hell, to Purgatory, and then gets to Heaven. I created my own version, and changed the order to start with Heaven. I find Paradise much more appealing than anything else to begin with. Don't you think?
I never purposely searched for Heaven. But when I crossed the Hawaiian Ko’olau Summit mountain range in 2015, I found out that Paradise on Earth does exist. Mind you, the sayings are true: it is very tough to get there!
Then, curious as I am, I went to check out what Hell looks like. I got to flirt with the Devil in the Survival Run Nicaragua and the Devil’s Double challenge in 2016. I have to admit that his charm made me dance from dusk till dawn, and from dawn till dusk. I bet this mean character is the one who put a curse on women at every moon cycle. He sure didn’t let pass this one out for me that night. Over the last 12 hours of his masquerade, he made me leave a bloody mark all along the course. This seductive guardian of the Inferno will forever remember my march through Hell, me being his first and only “Beatrice” to accept and conquer his challenge.
After I ran 420 miles over 8 days in The Endurance Society Infinitus race in 2016, I came to the realization that this is where I closed the loop of my own Divine Comedy. I literally had to close 15 laps - 15 marathons - to realize that the 888k Infinitus race is the Purgatory. And let me tell you something: Purgatory is worse than Hell. In other words, Hell is like Heaven compared to Purgatory.
If You Are Going Through Hell, Keep Going. - Winston Churchill
Infinitus is not a race. It is a human experiment. Just like the Survival Run Nicaragua, the 888k Infinitus is designed to be almost impossible to finish. Where there are more DNF (Did Not Finish) and DNS (Did Not Start) than finishers (only one man), the concept of failing is brought to a whole other level. To have ran 420 miles over 8 days, I can proudly say “I Did Fail”, just like in my first attempt at the Survival Run Nicaragua in 2015. These victorious fails always drive me to adapt and evolve toward a stronger and more complex mind, body, and spirit, in order to succeed in future events!
The Infinitus race is like a labyrinth. In order to find your way out, you must compose the perfect rhymes and verses, made of your running pace, sleep, nutrition, and self-awareness, It is a delightful whirlpool of mind fuck and physical demand, in which you voluntary let yourself drawn into. You sink in to the point where it all starts to blend together. The pieces of monologue playing in my head sounded like:
- Helene, wake up, you have to go run.
- Wait, I AM running.
- Well then, keep running, and don’t fall asleep.
- Roger that self. Just stay awake while I daydream of sleeping, so I can keep running.
- Alright! Press the “repeat” button, and let’s embrace the suck! Don’t touch the “shuffle” button though, or we’ll be screwed for real!
To Infinity And Beyond! - Toy Story movie
In every adventure I do, I get to a new level of consciousness. With the completion of a 420-mile run in 8 days, I realized that neither distance nor duration would ever stop me to want to go further. There is no summit I want to reach. Better said: If there was any summit I was chasing, it is everywhere. I enjoy the process much more than the end product. I simply feel limitless in the journey.
Infinity is the answer to any quest of mine I had up until now. As the concept of infinity cancels the idea of distance and time, there is really nowhere to go and everywhere to get to! The further you explore going away from home, the closer you are to your real home (yourself), and the further your path in front of you is lengthening. My path just reached the length of infinity. It feels like a relief, like a breeze from Paradise I am now forever impregnate of.
Deep inside us, we all chase something. Whether it is some pieces of the puzzle for happiness, or the answer that would give a sense to everything else, the quest is always yours and yours only. Every finish line is the beginning of a new adventure. And to start a new journey, you must set a goal to go after. You must have a dream to chase. You must declare a BHAG and track it down! Prepare for a whole new world of adventures as you enter your own Hero’s Journey!
When There's No Way Out, You Find A Deeper Way In. - The International movie
Infinity may mean forever. But what is forever when you're doing what you love? I have an unfinished business with an 888-kilometer Purgatory, so I am going back to Infinitus in 2017! Many people followed me in this past first attempt. Now is your chance to take on the challenge and be part of the show by tackling your own distance at the Infinitus race! This is an open invitation! Together, let's conquer new possibilities by creating our own heroic journey!