Wasatch Part 2. The Aftermath.

No you didn’t miss anything, and no, I didn’t lose the ability to logically order number sequences.  I ran yesterday; for the third time since Wasatch, the third time in the last month.  Yesterday was a short jaunt, a 6 mile run from Brighton up to Sunset Peak, but it brought me back to the last time I was on the trail. Combined with today’s additional return to the scene of the crime, with a ride up to gain the ridge and on the Wasatch Crest, I finally understood that I needed to tell this part of the story first.  First, before I could put words to a race report.

An after the fact, fyi: Wasatch screwed up my ITBands pretty bad.

I’ve spent 3 out of the past 4 weeks growing patience in recovery.  I walked away from Wasatch, making plea bargains with my IT Bands, telling them if they let me finish, that I wouldn’t even try to run for a few weeks.  Little did I know how close to the truth this would be.  I spent the first two weeks making peace with this, if I didn’t run now, I could run later. Week number 3, to be honest, was stressful at work and even more stressful on me.  When you stop moving, your body becomes cranky in ways that your brain can’t comprehend.  With much relief, 3 weeks and 5 hours after I started Wasatch, I ran almost 2.5 miles around the local park.  A week of being sick derailed other plans, but about 4 weeks and a few hours shy of finishing Wasatch, I returned to scene of the crime.

I left the Brighton parking lot and headed up towards Catherine’s Pass… it was a cold crisp day, about 45 F, and not all that much warmer than when I left Brighton a month earlier.  That, however, felt incredibly close to zero.  This time, I ran up the trail.  I felt incredibly slow.  Painfully reminded that I had been reduced to almost no physical activity and on and off sickness for the past month; turns out there’s not a whole lot of oxygen at 10,000′.  But I was able to run!  My withdrawl symptoms slowly vanished and every footstep brought back a memory of all my training runs.

My bike ride today was much the same.  Brian and I rode The Crest, another not-so-subtle reminder that I haven’t done anything for a month (and I’m “racing” my bicycle for 6 hours next weekend!? (wtf!)).  Despite feeling out of sync with my bike, I needed that day in the mountains.  The route of travel was in reverse from what I covered in Wasatch, and the mountains glowing with the screaming yellow of Aspen trees, a contrast from hollow black night, only lit by the moon, that Jenny and I plodded through a month ago.  Still I could see the race in perspective, the gusting winds from Scott’s Pass Aid, the leftover campfire at Desolation, the top of the first climb out of blunder fork where Jenny had told me we were almost done climbing.

As I got into that ride, similar to getting into that run, I emerged and found myself for the first real time after the race.  There was something there still, more running, hiking, more freedom and the capacity to get lost in the mountains. Wasatch was this… The ability to set your mind to something and to be able to pick yourself up time after time to get there. The discovery that I had completed this huge distance, right here in my backyard, and there was still so much more to cover.  Then, finally, the realization that your body might trust you to let yourself go back out there again and allow you to put words to a 33 hour void.  Saturday, as I ran past Catherine’s  and gravitated towards Sunset Peak (maybe more aptly named Sunrise?), I found expression and gratitude for every little step, every little battle, I took coming out of Brighton that morning 4 weeks prior.

Second Sunrise (Photo credit Eric Dacus)

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