Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Infinitus 2016!

Ah, a random, small scarecrow at the starting line of Infinitus

I think it started with me crying in Kentucky last October.

"Do I want to do multi day events anymore? I have been doing multi day events, several per year, for 4 years now."

I was a participant in the amazing Catamount Games and I worked all weekend physically and mentally...but emotionally, I was digging as hard as I could to want it. I was suffering. Usually, I can dig in and grasp on to something to push through but I was noticing "that something" was not as present. I started "worrying" that perhaps this part of my life was changing. Not that change is scary because I can embrace what is thrown at me with an open heart. But, I was wondering what do I do if I don't have this piece of my puzzle? The puzzle piece that helped me work though a wall of grief from losing my daughter, that made me strong again, that showed me I can do anything, that I am a strong woman with a powerful will.

I set it aside and rolled with it. Present but not making any decisions.

I decided that Infinitus 2016 would be my chance to go back and get my 100 miler. Last year, I made it to 78 miles. This year, my friend, Mark, would join me and pace me. I paced him 70 miles in his Peak 200 mile bid in 2014. He wanted to give back. I said, Let's Go!

I trained all winter...Crossfit and hill repeats and long hikes. But, I was tired in so many ways. My body is changing (pre-menopause, I soooooooooo hate you more than you will ever know) and I had the stress of my mom aging and making some end of life decisions (she is fucking rock star and is still doing well). I kept in touch with Mark telling him what was up. We were in good communication about how this was going to be hard for me mentally.

my 48 hour Peeps!!

The week before, the weather forcast. Upper 80s and humid. NO FUCKING WAY. I am absolutely miserable in high heat and this was a kick in the ass I did not need. My heart sank.

Again the question: How much suffering do I need in my life right now? Can I pull even deeper to get this 100 miler done? Do I want it that badly?

I got all my stuff together. It is so easy for me now to prepare for a multi day event. I know exactly what my body needs and what gear to get my through.

I showed up Thursday afternoon to set up my tent and get into the vibe of the other racers arriving. So many amazing friends were already running the 72 hour and my crew of 48 hour folks were trickling in, setting up camp, gear, etc.

Love it! Hugs and discussions of how to get it done this weekend.

I had advice and hugs and kisses but the drive to get it done myself was not there.

But, I was going to set out on the first 27 mile loop and see how it felt. No decisions until then.

Other racers could read me...asked me if I was ok...if I was into to it.

After the soul crushing heat of the 27 mile took 10.5 hours....too long. I would have to pick it up big time and there was no way that I wanted to repeat that horrid loop the next day in the heat. NO WAY. During that 27 mile march (the course was gorgeous and amazing and loved it more than last year's loop!), I had an honest conversation with myself. I think it is time that I let go of this part of my life. Maybe for just now? Am I having any fun here suffering? NO. There was zero fun and it was crystal clear to me FINALLY that I was done. I felt free. No pressure. Folks were asking if I would go out on a loop for the fun of it. I answered with a very clear NO THANK YOU.

I sat down with Mark and I offered to switch gears and crew him...for him to get another 100 under his belt (his 12th!!!! God, I know some amazing folks!!). He did some quick math and it was totally doable. Mark is a machine with 100 milers. Now this was fun! I could keep him focused and be there when he returned from his loops, help with his food and pack, etc. Mark went on to get first place in the 48 hour with an amazing 122 miles!! So proud of him.

congrats, Mark!!!

888kers!! Look at the high mileage!
Amazing individuals.

The remaining time there, I saw everything...people who had to leave the race because of heat injuries, turned ankles, EMT visits, and others that were able to push through and finish what they came to do. Some had a choice in the matter, some did not with the heat. Congrats to everyone!!!!

Special congrats to my friend, Eric Skocaj, who ran 550 miles (888k) over 10 days. He ran into the finish with one of the masks that were on the trees out on the trail...he passed them several times over that 10 days. A classic way to finish, my friend!!

photo: The Endurance Society

Again, the community of The Endurance Society events is what keeps me coming back....and I think for many. People enjoying each others company, having beers, helping racers that were still going strong with their blistered feet or getting them food...this is a unique and loving community that I will always be a part of! But for now, as a volunteer! And a pacer!

What do I do now to make me feel whole now that these big events are not the focus?

Martial arts perhaps? That should keep this spazzy, fidgety, alpha mom busy. I will start looking into it. It has been on my list. :)