Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Float On

Coming back from Europe was perhaps the hardest thing I’ve done recently. Well that, and dropping out of the Run Rabbit Run 100 (RRR100) at mile 21 after having been so excited to race it. Perhaps I had been too easily persuaded, and perhaps Jungfrau was harder than I thought. ... My legs had completely cramped with four kilometers to go, forcing me to do little more than walk in the final miles while losing over 15 places...

Standing in the terminal in Geneva, it would have been so easy to just not get on the plane. I'd found a groove in a foreign place that I felt comfortable with. I'd fallen in love with the steep terrain, the tall, jagged mountains that make up the French Alps, and with the unpredictability of Mont Blanc's daily face. Waking up to views of the swirling clouds, dark rock and the spilling blanket-like glacier was a sight I’d been more than happy to get used to. But I boarded the plane anyway. I mean, what do you do? I had to come back. And I’m glad I did, of course, but at the same time, the thought of escaping was (and is still) equally as appealing.

A few days later, after being unable to sleep, I trudged up a Steamboat trail under a baking sun at mile 11 of RRR100. I was already delirious, nearly asleep and stumbling, feeling like I'd completed some 50 miles. My stomach was twisted into knots, my head was pounding, I had chills ... my bones even seemed to ache. I knew I had to drop, that my body was telling me this wasn’t my day, this wasn’t the time or the race, but my crew was waiting for me and I didn’t want to disappoint them or the countless good people that had sent me texts, emails, made phone calls and written on my Facebook wall to wish me good luck.

Ultimately, I dropped anyway. And I’ve never felt so happy with a decision to DNF. In fact, I never knew I could feel happy about a DNF, but I am. I have been tired in every sense of the word. And I had ignored the signals long enough.

And now, a change, I know, is immanent, and it comes after three years of sharing my life with someone else. A relationship we'd both run to the ground had finally ended in July - a relationship with someone who is still one of my best friends - but I didn't have to actually face the reality until my roommate and traveling buddy, Gina, and I came home and had the house to ourselves. And it all happened at a good time, I guess, if things like that come at good times. ... It is fall and the aspens are golden. It is a peaceful time to be in the mountains.

Perhaps partly due to recovering from jet lag and then a brief but needed "off-season," I have been feeling suspended in a strange directionless cloud in which I continue to carry out my normal daily routine that I know has an expiration date. I’ve lately been sinking into a tunnel of self-reflection where most daily activities warrant some recollection of a former chapter in my life. I’ve been spending so much time reflecting in fact that I almost feel like my mind is only circulating in the past. And yet, I see hints of newness everywhere and I'm reminded of our human inability to perceive time as a non-linear construct, which then leads further into self reflection and the strangeness of my thoughts. So I just keep floating and observing…

I've met some intriguing people lately, among them, a person with a past that's both unlike my own and captivating to me. And I'm moved to think of hope and of change in a different way. And it's all helped me simply accept my directionless cloud and, for lack of better words, see what happens. I’ve stopped planning my days, at least for now (running in the afternoon has never been easier!) and I’m finally going to be working with a coach to really try and see what I can do with running, as my training has always somehow resembled this directionless cloud (oh, but that's a different topic altogether!).

Memento Vivere.