It's been 2 weeks and 3 days since I finished Wasatch. I wrote my last blog entry in a bit of a hasty high, and have had ample time to reflect on that so hard to depict weekend. I've read every race report posted to facebook; some technical blurbs about nutrition and hydration, pack choices, and brand dropping. I've read disappointed runners blogs who had big problems and had to end their journey early- those people I can feel through the screen. I've even read a few disappointed runners blogs who actually finished in top 10 - those people I can't relate to. That is a field I will never be in, in these extremely tough mountain races I choose to do. But, a struggle nonetheless when competition and winning is what drives you.
I won't go into detail about fuel and hydration, as it really is boring. And, as I continue to learn, it's a personal science experiment over many training runs and races. Races always have super highs and lows, for me. Which isn't surprising given my personality which parallels that good and bad, happy and sad, manic bursts of heaven, and teary smacks of grief.
I understand why race reports are so long. You start from the beginning, or even before- months before the start line even. I'll start with the night before. I poured a glass of wine and sat in the living room with my husband. It was 9:00pm. Cheryl would text me "here" from her car idling out front in 6 1/2 hours. My stomach was so sick with jitters, I couldn't eat dinner. I couldn't drink that wine I poured, but I could cry. And, I did. My lips just started to quiver and I cupped my face in my hands and cried. What's wrong, Nat? "I'm pretty scared, this is going to be really, really hard" Yeah, it is.
I tried to sleep- not a wink. My nerves had me shaking and my heart beat skyrocketed for hours. The only service I did to myself was drink water in the dark as I rolled from back to belly over, and over, and over, again. I just wanted the race to start- I just wanted the anticipation of the Wasatch 100 to end, and get on with it. And , then it did.
Many race reports, including my previous, talked about the heat. It was hot. Dry, dusty, and then it got hotter. My contacts were covered in a film of dust, and my vision blurred from mile 15 -75 when I finally reached Brighton- 28 hours from the start line,where I took them out and cleaned them with saline. I could finally see clearly after 60 miles.
Frankly- although slow. The climbs did not overwhelm me. And, it's the pat on the back Ill give myself. Any chance I could , I climbed. I slugged out the Speedgoat 50k, which has some of the most challenging climbs I've ever done in a race where your legs are trashed. I didn't find any of the climbs to be too much. So- yay me, I trained for the tough stuff. The fatigue surprised me worst of all. Even with newborns in the past who didn't sleep and were breastfed and I didn't know what day it was or if it were morning or night. I've never been so tired that I fell asleep standing up. That was unexpected- not the fatigue itself, but the INTENSE fatigue.
It's easy to say keep going, one foot in front of the other, eat, drink, move. But, it's hard to do, your body and mind don't always agree. You have to fight and dissect, destroy, burn your limits and fear. Easy to say, and not so easy to always do. The things that kept me from going over the edge and dropping were the people. The people in my life who were rooting for me, who crewed me, who took off from their jobs and their lives to devote double digit, 24+ hours to me, my family watching the tracking at home, worried that I wasn't going to make it to the finish in time, which turned out to be my fastest 25 miles of the day. My friends who have taught me so much about mountain running and ultra running and myself. I couldn't stop, I couldn't call it quits, no matter how many times it crossed my mind. All that anticipation that kept me up Thursday night was fear and accountability, it was the fear of not being able to deliver what my family, myself, my friends were waiting for, the finish.
"It was totally like heaven and hell" -me.
I've got some aches, but I'm resting. My Wasatch high is coming to an end and the blues of it all being over have set in this week. I'll certainly put in for Wasatch again.