Jumping for joy...YAY for Colorado!
The road to a DNF is paved with the best of intentions...and I had had the very best of intentions going into the 2010 Leadville Trail 100.
It's so weird to think back to where I was and who I was this very day last year. We were wrapping up medical check-in at the gymnasium in downtown Leadville, awaiting the arrival of our fantastic crew, hanging out with Brian, Kelly and Deanna, heavy with anticipation for the coming day. Packing and unpacking my pack several times throughout the afternoon, organizing and then reorganizing my crew duffle over and over. Agonizing over my shoes and what shirt to start in. Gloves and a hat? Just gloves? Just a hat? Skull cap or ball cap? SO MANY DECISIONS! Thank goodness I didn't need to worry with drop bags. I hate putting together drop bags, almost as much as I hate lima beans (blech, I shiver every time I think of lima beans...I'm currently covered in goosebumps of disgust...).
Anyway, I don't mean to blabber on and on about the past, but I like to reflect on major events that, when I really think about it, have really made me who I am. An event that caused a shift in paradigm. An event that moved me so much that I am eternally a different person because of it.
That sounds so hokey and lame. But it's true.
Leadville took the wind out of my sails. It was my first DNF. It is an experience that I now look back on fondly (convenient amnesia?). I don't have a bad taste in my mouth from it, and I certainly don't feel bitter or like I need to avenge myself there. Quite the opposite. I feel good about the lessons I learned there and the person I became as a result of my breakdown on Hope Pass. I know that one day I will return, but it's fairly low on my list right now...I will require myself to spend time doing speedwork at altitude before I spend that kind of money to do it again :-)
The experience, ALL of it, was fantastic. But I especially loved the warm community we were a part of for just 5 short days, shuffling around the Leadville Hostel, sharing meals with complete strangers, hearing stories of grand adventures, the failures and triumphs of the runners, the collective buzz of excitement, anxiety, and taper crazies. Pre-race water bottles replaced by empty beer cans stacked up on the big porch as folks kicked up their sore feet, regaling others with their version of the experience...signs of recovery, sorrow, victory. I really enjoyed that place.
And, now, here I am a whole 'nother person. I lived, I learned, I moved on. I continue to work towards another finishline, continue to work on my mind, on my legs, on my desire. Nothing really comes for free in life; it always costs you something at some point. My mind decided to invoice me that day as I stood a mile up the trail on the backside of Hope Pass, agonizing over whether or not I push on, only to be pulled up top. I owed a debt, and I paid. I lumbered down that mountain, angry, resentful, deeply saddened.
But I paid my debt. And now I'm free and clear...for now :)
Whereas I questioned, "How Did I Get Here?" during my time on that trail, I no longer wonder; I now know. I can see exactly the road...and trail...I've followed to get me where I am now. The curves, and steps, undulations, weather.
And I love where I am, and the path I created to get here. Onward!
I so look forward to the next 100 mile adventure :)