Rest, Recovery, and the Next Adventure

I looked on, I thought, I reflected, I admired, in a state of stupefaction not altogether unmingled with fear!
— Jules Verne
 Photo by Larry Stephenss

Photo by Larry Stephenss

As I stood at the top of a mountain during a long training run, I pulled out my phone to see if I had service. It was (I thought) over an hour into the HURT 100 lottery and, with cautious optimism, I wanted to check the status. Nothing. No names posted on the website. I checked credit card transactions. Nothing. No new charges. I checked my email. Nothing. No messages from Ultrasignup. “I guess that’s it,” I said to Larry. “This wasn’t my year.” With disappointment I put my phone away and I stared out into the vast openness of the Columbia River Gorge. “What’s next?” I thought.

I am a planner. I appreciate spontaneity as much as anyone, but it’s in my nature to plan and to be prepared. When it comes to races, I often plan 2-3 years in advance, partially because I know how much training I will need to do and how much I still have to learn and partially because, well, making big plans is expensive, especially when you’re on your own.

Because I’m a planner, it didn’t surprise me after Badwater when friends and family asked me what was next. Those who know me know I’m always planning something, and I was (tentatively). Badwater, though, was unlike any race experience I’ve ever had. After putting so much time, energy, money, love, hope, and life into something so huge, all I wanted to do (all I still want to do) was have a couple weeks to just be tired and to savor the unlikely reality that I actually made it. For that reason, and because I didn’t know if my plans would actually come to fruition, I was hesitant to answer the “what’s next?” question.

Last Saturday, when I returned home from a long day of running, I opened the lottery results page one last time, but saw that the lottery was actively taking place. I had apparently miscalculated the time difference. I stood hunched over my phone, leaning against my kitchen counter in my sweaty running clothes, hoping to see my name appear. Name after name appeared, but not mine. Then, 87 draws in, there it was. I refreshed the page no less than five times to confirm that it was actually there. I screamed (my neighbors probably still wonder what’s wrong with the freak next door).

So, what’s next? For now, I am actively training to run one more 100-miler this year. After that, I plan to take some down time to give my body and, more importantly, my mind some needed rest. After that, I’m excited to say that I’m going to be challenged by trails I’ve never traversed, see beauty I’ve never seen, travel to a place I’ve never been, and experience pain like I’ve never experienced. In January, I will have the privilege of running the HURT 100, a race that’s been on my short list of goals for a long, long time.