There is something about going somewhere on your own two feet; the challenge is more about going further than going faster. With each new mile you can justify the last 5, or 10, or 20 and then oddly enough justify the future 5, 10, or 20.
It’s an upward spiral of questionable logic. “What’s another 5 miles after you’ve already done 26, and then once you’ve already done 31, what another 19 to get the 50, and then another 20 and you’re at 70. After 70 you over half way to 100, what’s another 30?
Leadville, that’s what’s at 100.
The trail is a place of peace, contemplation, an acceptable deviation from sanity. Someone recently asked me if I had ever hit the “WALL,” and what that was like. I was reminded of my first 20 mile race, I was at about mile 9, I had been on a steady incline for the last 2 miles. I looked up ahead, then looked back and was convinced I hadn’t moved an inch. My run slowed to a walk and the walk to a pathetic attempt at a trudge. The self evaluation sets in “why the (expletive) did I think this was a good idea,” as you continue onward up the hill into the despair and suffering. That is a WALL.
An older man with a walking stick passed by with a smile, “great job, you’re almost at the top, just around the next bend it flattens out.” Well old man, you are a liar! I was most definitely not great…AND it was another 2 miles before I saw anything but up.
I survived and managed to turn the trudge back into a solid finish. With enough determination and drive the heart will surpass the suffering in your body and in your head. You will always finish with a smile, well at least after you fall down, cry, vomit, or whatever gets you through.
While I’m not yet to Leadville, I think it’s a manageable goal. I think I’ll stop at 100…but then again based on my previously mentioned sound logic, who knows.