The slow return to a normal training schedule has afforded me the time to look back a little and finally gain some appreciation for my personal progress. We are just a few weeks shy of the 3 year mark since I completed my first marathon in Victoria. That is the day that I first considered myself a runner. Walking back to the hotel from the finishers corral I can remember a moment that I looked back at the finish line and took a breath and was really satisfied with the effort and the day. Less than a month later I lined up and ran my first Ultra-marathon in Haney. Again, as I was leaving the finishers corral (this time being helped along:)) I can remember a feeling of sheer delight in the days accomplishment. From that moment on in November 2008 I based everything on the way it would affect the 3rd weekend in August in 2009, 2010 and 2011. At each turn, finish and injury the first thought was always to gauge it against the potential benefit or detriment it would supply to the Leadville push.
A lot of mental and nervous energy burned plotting success at 10,000 ft. In the end, I guess the ends justify the means but I was a little blinded and maybe literally couldn’t see the forest for the trees. Falling short on the attempts on 2009 and 2010 left me feeling like I was failing all the while a little oblivious to the changes taking hold mentally and physically in me. Only during the last few weeks of rest am I gaining a sense of what I’ve been able to do. Since May of 2008: 10 Half marathons, 2 marathons, 50k, 50 mile, 3 100k Ultra-marathons, and a 100 mile finish. During that time I fell short in 100 mile attempts @ 38, 60 and 68 miles. I am not putting this out there as a look at me or to toot my own horn, I am using this article to remind me of where we come from and what it took to get to this point.
In some respects crossing the line in Leadville closed a chapter for me. As that particular chapter closes I feel like a 100 new ones have opened. It took more than 3 years to get there but it was worth every step of the ~ 4000 miles in training. As Adam pointed out in Colorado it took 228 miles to get credit for a 100…I could n’t have guessed how completion in Leadville would filter through and saturate into many other aspects of everyday life. But it has, I can and have applied lessons learned on the Colorado trail to just about every other arm of my life, family, parenting, work and internally.
The greatest satisfaction obviously comes from seeing a long term demanding goal through to fruition. There was no better feeling for me than limping out of Leadville with the green strap still intact on my wrist. Its a little thing but it represented everything for me. I felt like I was finally allowed in the club. The two mile high club if you will.:) The mental clarity and weight off is fantastic. The funny part of this for me right now, as with any daunting task, now complete was it such a big deal?….haha!