"What do you have coming up next?"I had no answer. There are things I've wanted to do, things I've felt like I must do. But I couldn't plan them, not yet.
Friday morning I woke to a 3:20am alarm. I quickly wiggled into my white thrift store sundress, excited to "gear test" it on an alpine ridge on a "run" in the 4-5 hour range. I had told the guys that I'd be 'dress'ed for the occasion.
I grabbed my pre-packed bags and was out the door before 3:40. Off to the Little Cottonwood Canyon park-n-ride. We were to do Hidden Peak, the AF Twins, Red Stack, and Red Baldy. Only minor 3-4th class scrambling but a lot of ridge work. I was excited to get onto the ridge.
|Craig and Scott leaving Hidden towards AF Twins|
|Craig taking in the sunrise|
Along the ridge between Red Stack and Red Baldy I had time to sit and think. It was a beautiful morning. I was happy. I knew I still hadn't forgiven myself for Bighorn. I've felt that, had I respected myself more, I would've stopped. Any sane person would've stopped. I've promised myself I would never go there again, a promise based on a crippling fear. But I still hadn't forgiven myself. I knew that I hadn't finished as a form of self-abuse... but I still hadn't come to terms with pushing through that.
|Craig after Red Stack|
And on the way to Red Baldy, I forgave myself. I remembered why I run at all... This was what I loved. The summits, the scrambles, the ridges, the sunrises. The laughter of friends, the goofing off.
I owe it to myself to push my limits. I owe it to myself to try again. Perhaps I found a limit at Bighorn. But I owe to these mountains to train again, to push again, to try.
|an accidental photo of me laughing at the guys|
On an early weekday morning, being silly in a sundress at 11,000+, I had found my reset button.
No, not really. There is a part of me that will always want the positive affimation that I'm doing ok, and that in someway I can help encourage or inspire others find the peace the mountains offer. To discover a "reset" button in their own lives and fitness journeys. But my joy comes from challenges that most races don't offer. The time I'd have to sacrifice to train to race at a more competitive level would pull away from my time spent on ridges and high mountains.
|with my husband Ben scouting the Cottonwood Ridge Traverse for WURL|
"Why don't you do speedgoat?" A final question was asked to me before I left. Again, I had no answer other than to say one year I would.
Then I turned my back on the race and looked up. Monte Cristo seemed tall and powerful as it gleamed in the sun. It took my breath away. I scanned the entire cottonwood ridge. I resolved to take 2 hours off my time from Ferguson Canyon to the ridge to Superior. I felt inspired, in awe.
|on Monte Cristo last week|
Perhaps there is a balancing act I have yet to discover and perfect. A balancing act that still allows me long ridges and occasional bush-whacks while still having me do speedwork and tempo runs on a weekly basis. A training regime that enhances my mountain running ability rather than relying solely on mountain running.
|Scott approaching the saddle between Red Stack and Red Baldy|
I'd like to try to run a fast 50, something I haven't tried before. It's local and while I know the permitting drama has probably prevented the RD from posting the elevayion and race maps, he seems like a good guy and the races have a solid reputation. He also sent me a discount code for anyone else who wants to register: JEATON15 takes 15% off an entry.
So, here's to the reset.
|finding inspiration in the little things. Mountain columbine above 10k|