During every race, I think about what I want to remember. What I’ll want to “write home” about. Things that’ll make me reminisce — fondly or not so fondly — about the race, years from now.
This is especially true for races as long as this one.
Now that a couple days have passed, the raw emotions that carried me through race day have passed too. But from the myriad conversations I’ve had since then, some thoughts have come up the most often:
- The fact that this race turned out so well!!! That I had no major issues, that I actually had a pretty enjoyable time out there, that I might’ve still had more miles to give.
- The sentiment that this really is what I want to do with my life: seeing, hearing, experiencing the outdoors, and myself, in such a visceral, physical, extreme (?) way.
- The stunning beauty of hundreds of twinkling headlamps behind and ahead of me under the full moon, misty clouds rolling through the valleys below, the sun rising just above those clouds over mountains in the distance.
- The feeling of sharing this experience in both solitude _and_ in camaraderie (with strangers, no less!).
- The metronome of my breath, with every climb, with every descent, with every footstep. That feeling of moving forward, that feeling of pushing through, that feeling of being alive.
- The surprise, shock, and disappointment at tripping and falling at Mile 35, with a bruised and bloodied left arm, possible right calf strain, and possible end to my race.
- The resignation of passing through Muir Beach the second time around… knowing that I had another 11 miles and almost 3000 feet of climbing to go.
- The relief, awe, and maybe even some sadness at cresting the Alta Trail, and seeing the Golden Gate Bridge — with the finish so tantalizingly close by — in the distance. I’ve seen and crossed the Bridge so many times that I never thought it’d make me feel the way it did up on that hill, again.
- And the joy of a friend see me at the finish line. While there’s solace in seeking and pushing my limits alone during a race, I often feel terribly lonely crossing the finish line on my own. I’m grateful that this wasn’t the case this time.
I’ve save the technical analysis for another section. For now, I’m still soaking this all in, 3 days later. It was both kind of wild, yet also kind of “another day at the office.” I kinda felt at home out there. I can’t wait to be back.