I know it’s a normal post big race phenomenon that occurs in most ultra runners. For most it’s a bit of a lull, a mild depression for some. Finishing something so big….then what? For me all of the race sensations and feelings start flooding in. Vivid Images of the midnight moon during the race, so much clearer than I remember. Feeling the rocks against my hands as I climbed in pain with back spasms. Seeing the details in the trees and trail. All warm, vivid, alive detailed memories and feelings that during the race I didn’t appreciate. By 15-20 hours into the race my senses were dulled, but suddenly after the race, all of those memories and feelings come alive.
The most vivid memories are of the last rim climb at around mi 100. I was in sheer pain with my back and the heat of the day was killing me. It got close to 90 degrees and I had moved 1 mile in 1 hour and still had at least another mi climb and then 7 more to finish. Each step triggered intense spasms causing me to lean to the right. The memories of pain were quickly replaced with memories of the trail, the rocks that helped me climb, the rustling trees whispering encouragement and the slight breeze offering as much relief as it could provide. A huge sense of gratitude to nature is what I feel now…...and a burning desire. The desire to see more, climb more, run more, experience more mountains, more terrain, use new skills and ways to climb and explore. More, more, more.
And then a bit of sadness and guilt. Sadness that I didn’t start this journey sooner, sadness that I can’t just do more and more and more….without losing balance. Guilt because while my adventures inspire my family, they also take time away from them. Balance. Post race my balance is off a little. Just as it will take time for my legs to recover, it will take a little time for my balance to re-establish itself. In the meantime I am grateful for the adventure, grateful to have this small struggle.