Saturday, November 3, 2012

Training has begun for Hellgate 2012

Today I am nursing my sore muscles and achy tendons as I begin to recover from last nights 30 mile training run down in the Southern Kettle Moraine. The weather was perfect, little to no wind, clear sky, and the smell of leaves as we all trotted through the woods-then the prairie, then some more prairie, and finally back into the woods to the parking lot where our cars were waiting. The group started as five, a good strong number. By Bald Bluff we quickly grew to six, then just as quickly two dropped back- and then there was four...
The sounds of feet shuffling through the leaves continued, headlamps bobbing onward.
In the prairie two of us wanted to slow down a bit, so then there was two...
Thank goodness, since thats a long stretch by yourself. It was my first night since last winter. I am training for Hellgate again this year, which is coming up quickly on December 9th. All I know is that I want to be better prepared than last year, and its hard to know at what point you are ready. 70 miles is a long way to go through the mountains on foot, in December, in West Virginia.
I really wasn't even planning on signing up this year, I have been so swamped with school and trying to squeeze in work and spend enough time with family so they don't forget about you or think that you just don't care. Its a juggling act, no way around it. So why throw a 70 mile race on top of all that? Who knows. Its just something I feel like I need to do, again.
There is a certain clarity that comes with pushing yourself way beyond where you should stop. It brings you to this place that doesnt exist all the time, but must be there, just beyond the comfort zone. Just beyond what is practical, and logical, and maybe even healthy. I think this place transcends all of that. It is a clear understanding of what it feels like to be alive, to hurt, to feel joy, anger, sadness, all of it. There are some races and events that not only have paths that lead to an eventual finish line, but also can take you to this place. You live your whole life again, memories coming and going, thoughts rising and falling like your breath in the mountain air. You have to face it all as it comes, good or bad. It doesn't matter how fast or hard you run, your thoughts are right there. You have to resolve any questions you have, or have had and buried. Because it all comes out in the mountains...

And I am looking forward to it.

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