Something to add ramblings to…
The giddiness of crossing a finish line has varied in degrees, but has never gone away. It might be because the ultramarathon does not lend itself to visualization. How many times do we hear (or utter), “I don’t even like to drive that far.” This is often accompanied by noting, on the way home, when you have driven the distance just run. My first ultra was a ten-lapper 50 km run at Green Lake in Seattle, Washington. There was no Internet, no Facebook, no nothing back then–the training had been done in solitude with no one to consult. There were days of training runs several hours long; my feet taking me here and there in the forest west of Olympia. A phrase that still wanders in and out of my mind was born on those trails, “No footsteps but mine”. There was little to write about except some idea of how long I had ran here and there. A day’s run would end with a sandwich, a drink, and a look at the surroundings, “Did I really just run up there, across to there, down there, and…” The paradox of knowing I had, while always doubting I could, would grow into the unending appreciation for covering ground, sometimes quite a bit of it, on my feet. Even those days when I outran the water I carried or the days when the leeward side of the mountain was needed because I had neglected to look at the weather, again, were ended with a certain joy—joy for being done; joy for knowing I would return.
Adjustments were made. I learned to eat for the running I was doing. A Three Musketeers candy bar was in a small bag attached to the web belt. A conversation with someone whose name I never knew led me to having a second bag in that bag; second bag being full of chunks of baked and salted chunks of potatoes. A gallon jug of water was hidden at some allegedly strategic point as I drove to the day’s starting point. I paid attention to the westerly sky. A small, but useful knowledge of the sky and its clouds, both good and bad, was slowly learned. Gloves were carried most of the year. Fog and wind were felt and tasted–salt on the wind told me it was an ocean breeze and rain would soon be on my shoulders. A pause at a junction; was the wind strong enough I needed to turn down into the protection of the valley? Silence greeted most of my questions. It would be a line of one of Gordon LIghtfoot’s songs, The Canadian Railroad Trilogy, that would come to mind on days when the wind was still; the rain somewhere unbidden; “When the green dark forest was too silent to be real.”
The absolute thrill, inner of shared aloud, of pointing at distant hills or valleys and saying, “We crossed that.” We had been at starting lines together. We had left them with varying intentions.
Simple pleasures outweighed
Where would you run if you had just one left?
———-Run gently out there———-