The past few moths have been riddled with high emotions and life challenges. I knew going into this race that I had a lot on my mind and a heavy heart. I could have just not run the race and avoided facing my deep thoughts; however, that would be weak. I could have turned to substances to “numb” the pain, but that is not an option. Instead, I chose to take off into the woods all day and allow myself to process some deep, deep thought and emotion.
Sitting on a rock about 30 yards off the trail on top of a mountain I found myself on my knees in thought and prayer. About 13 miles into the Quad Rock 50 tears began to fill my eyes and they could not stop. I did not want other runners to worry for me, as ultra runners care about one another and surely would check in on me. Thus, I wandered off course and spent a painful 20 minutes allowing the anguish to run its course. The emotion was strong. However, I could not be hypocritical and try to avoid emotion. After all, I teach people every day the importance of sitting with feelings. There is no such thing as negative emotion. It might be painful but it’s not negative.
After a good 20 minutes passed I felt more calm and ready to keep running. I thoroughly enjoyed the summit of Horsetooth Mtn. and the steep trails. I found myself experiencing drastic shifts of emotion. I didn’t try to tune out anything. I wasn’t there to win the race. I was there for training and to finish…and enjoy running in such a gorgeous environment.About every hour I found myself wandering off to a rock sometimes sitting and sometimes kneeling. As the race went on I noticed more energy and good physical strength. I felt, and feel, great physically.
I’ve never won an ultra marathon; in fact, the best I’ve done is 3rd on a 12-hour race. I’ve never been last in an ultra marathon either. Usually, I finish in a reasonable time, and if it’s not reasonable I at least finish 🙂 Nonetheless, I woke up this morning feeling so positive and a much stronger man for allowing myself to experience and not avoid and to finish hard things!