Thursday, July 25, 2013

It's Time To Get Down To It

A view of Hurshtown Reservoir, where I ran many a 2.75-mile lap
in preparation for Vol State.  I could run here worry-free:  no traffic,
solid footing, and water at the end of each loop.  Once I built up my
weekly mileage, I was able to enjoy filling up my water bottles
and heading out on the open road.  

I've come down off the mountain-top, literally and figuratively. My transition back into everyday life has been just as tempestuous emotionally as the running of Vol State. More than once I've had to remind myself “what goes down, must come up.”

I think the worst of the post-ultra blues are behind me. I'm finally starting to sleep without sweating and waking up through the night. I'm getting farther into each day before fatigue compels me to seek a chair, a couch, or a place on the grass in the shade.

What I've really been afraid of is that the mind-set I developed mid-way through Vol State would dissipate and disappear; that ability to block out distractions and discomfort in pursuit of a goal, that foregoing of any sense of entitlement that things should be easier than they are, and the authority to silence The Voices that speak lies and disgruntlements through my day in any given situation. Fatigue made it hard to summon the Vol State Mindset, but as I recover physically, I'm finding that mind-set returning, and I'm glad of it.

One of the attendants at the Hurshtown Reservoir had learned of my plans for the race. He asked me last night how it went. After walking a loop (2.75 miles) with Laura and Layla, he asked if I wasn't going to go around again. I smiled and said, “not yet. I need a new goal.” He smiled.

Layla accompanies me on a few of my shorter runs.  If she's not
chasing a rabbit or jumping in the water for a swim, then
she's likely sniffing out the presence of other dogs, of which there are many,
and leaving behind a bit of herself for them to admire when they return.

I do believe I need a new goal, but I'm not sure it has to be a running goal, at least not yet. The Vol State Mindset grew from having the goal of finishing and became refined when the goal became finishing-in-under-six-days. As for running, I'll work on returning to trails, if my adductor and groin can take the uneven surface. I'll work on hills when I can, and I'll try to get serious about speed work. Most of all, I will try to have fun: take off with my bladder and bottles full, credit card and coins tucked away, and run to towns like Butler, Hamilton, Pleasant Lake, Waterloo, Auburn – just make it a day-trip, stop at stores and restaurants along the way, and see if I run across anybody I've met over the years.

As for other goals, or the One Goal, we'll see. I don't think they/it can be forced into existence. I know I want to be a better musician. I know I want to write more. I know I want to eventually get the chicken coop repaired, the chicken yard re-fenced in, and re-start my little egg-laying hobby. There's other things too, but I'm not sure if any of these will trigger that Vol State Mindset I'm so anxious to keep. Regardless, it's time to get down to it.
View of an Amish garden from the reservoir path.

ps...the day went well. Layla got a walk at the reservoir early in the day, most of my little acre got mowed, and recovery work on my garden began. There was even an eight-mile run to cap things off!

And yes, I'm pondering signing up for a couple of races for later this fall... :)

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