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That Alpine Glow

It has taken three weeks to be able to write again. To make sense of the piece of self I lost in the desert, in hype, in an infringement of a private experience... and understand the consequential doors that opened. I think now, while taking a week away to reconnect under the vast desert sky, I’m ready to evaluate my recovery. Physically I was right on cue: I had a few “lingering naggies,” it took a while to rebuild the glycogen stores and regain weight, but by the 2.5 week mark I felt good as new. But emotionally…

I was shaken, so emotionally thrown, and since WRIAD 100 it’s been a ride of vulnerability, depression, angst, inspiration, and loneliness. Then—running again, pushing, summiting, laughing with friends; what elation! Freedom from my own mind! Is this why I run?

I watch again the video my husband made. That’s not me, that’s not my day. That’s not at all how it happened.

But does it even matter? Is it better to leave it, let people think that running the white rim is some sort of accomplishment? Rather than correct them and say no, it’s not, NO it’s not fast but a soft time, NO because I personally could’ve done it faster, but NO I’m not disappointed, I am so happy with the day, but NO! Why am I shouting when I want privacy? Does the noise distract them? And I am left confused, muddied, murky.

Running faster this winter, that’s a goal. What’s my eye on next, they ask. Does it matter? Speculation, plans, dreams for the future—can I handle my own dreams, when one so nearly wrecked me? My mind races…

The culmination of this year, this season, this era of something so new for me—friends, people who understand what I can’t say—has left me with such sadness and joy that I stand in the midst of it, straddling both ends of a bi-polar canyon; vulnerable, yearning to summit but unable to move unless I leave one side of the canyon for the other.

“You can’t run for hours on end unless you love yourself”—a recent tweet from a friend. Really? I wanted to reply I DO IT EVERY DAY but I withheld. It wasn’t the time/place/venue for my emotion hail-storm.

Even still I love life, moments, existing in a sensation, in a memory, in a breeze against a cheek, in sun shining on closed eyelids, in a friends laughter, in a son’s burrowing into my chest, in a quiet hand in the middle of the night. On this journey to quiet all the overwhelming confusion of tangible life versus the imagined suffering without a source, I get closer, then just as I gather a grasp on that peace within self, I lose it in a feeling: in youthful invincibility while running downhill, in a picture my son drew of us holding hands and heart balloons, in huddling beside a trail, bawling, unsure where I am—then to find myself left alone again in music, in fiction, in emptiness echoing inside.

Then that dark, maddening question—can a person love when they don’t love themselves? How preposterous the notion that they couldn'tfor they exist only to love: a romance of impulsive gratitude for people, places, moments, all things external. To experience love as it trespasses through them, rather than keeping it within their transparent self.

All this runs through my head every time my fingertips touch the keyboard. Every time I research next years lines, races, experiences. I battle the emotional hurricane while weighing potential on the scale of costs and benefits; trying to define what I desire to accomplish; why.

Is it for the line? The emotion? Do I desire to push that hard within myself again? To be, in a moment, so vulnerable by exhibiting such strength?

Yes, the vulnerability from my first 100 still lingers—exposing that part of myself to push, to be pushed, to lack the self-respect to stop, or is it strength to continue?

Then the emotions muddle together again, become an alpine glow: a rose-tinted haze lost on mountains and canyons and dreams; anxious for the sunrise of the unknown.


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