The “time” just provides a framework to allow you to get to a place where it’s going to be hard. If you just did it casually, it would be much more comfortable, and I don’t think it would be as transformative or profound, on a personal level.
So, I use the “time” as a beacon, or a motivator—whatever you want to call it—not to break a record, but more like if you challenge this time, it’s going to get you to a place where it’s going to be uncomfortable and hard and … you’re going to learn something.
Really loved that bit of Joe Grant’s Nolan’s 14 interview. It captured one reason a lot of my hikes turn out the way they do. I like being outdoors and have a few regular haunts. But sometimes I can’t talk myself into getting out until I have a “gimmick”, I call it. Some silly goal. Can I do 40 miles in a day? What’s it like to hike an all-nighter? Can I cover X distance in Y hours… with no running allowed? What if I hiked the same 3-mile loop until I lost my mind? So I put myself in these odd situations, and at times I’ve found myself 20 miles out from the trailhead, thinking, “Well, 20 miles to get back home. The only way home is to put the hours in… so might as well get on with it.” I go through all these emotional roller coasters and eventually there’s a certain peace that comes along, but only after I’ve really stretched.