Thursday, August 23, 2012

Unhinged At TransRockies

This morning the passenger side door was ajar when I went to leave for work. I feared the battery would be dead, but my trusty Avalon automatically shuts off the lights so that was not an issue. However, when I went to shut the door, it just rebounded with a dull thud. As an ultra-runner it is my nature to bang my head against the wall repeatedly before giving up, and so I tried three more times. Each time the door failed to latch and instead just flopped around after hitting the frame. Further inspection showed that the latch mechanism had gotten turned around and prying did not seem to help. Of course, this was the morning Mac hired a sitter and was off to run, leaving me without a back-up car or a studly husband to come to my rescue.

So I duct taped the door shut and headed off to work. This was just great till I made a right turn and the centripetal force was too much for my meager tape job and the door flung open. As if this isn't bad enough, a few cars around me decide to honk at me. Anyone with three brain cells would notice this problem and does not need to have people honk to point this out. Then again, anyone with three brain cells probably wouldn't be driving a car with a defective door to work.

In the three days since returning from TransRockies I feel a bit like my car. I am operational, but I just don't seem to be fitting together right. I feel as out of place as a car on the road with its "wings" spread wide. Physically, I am fine. In fact, I can't believe how well I held up through the 120 miles at extreme altitude. Mentally, I am a wreck. TRR was such a phenomenal experience, that honestly, I am disappointed to be home and I really feel like I am suffering from some post-event depression. A tiger born in captivity doesn't know what it is missing. But if you take it out to the jungle for a week, it won't be satisfied going back to its home in the zoo. Back at work Tuesday morning, my tiny office felt like a cage.

You know how the tiger paces back and forth in its cage? Well, my mind has been pacing back and forth at work. I am very good at my job, but that is not always such a good thing as it means much of the challenge is gone. By Wednesday, I concocted a plan to reduce my work hours, significantly cut our expenses, and being able to LIVE more. Mac, full of reason and sanity, shot the whole thing to pieces immediately. I fantasized about him falling off a cliff so I could get the life insurance and execute my plan. (That's a joke!).

TransRockies was truly as amazing as everyone said it would be. I am so grateful to La Sportiva for the opportunity. Jenny Capel and I were a great team. We are so similar and we worked well together. We have the same running strengths, the same competitive drive, the same desire to be a little wild, but only if we are still following the rules! Certainly, running as a team has it's challenges, but I think I did a good job of accepting that we would run this thing together. And Jenny did a good job of not punching me for saying "low and slow" or "find the grinder gear" one too many times!
Ooh la LA SPORTIVA! - We only got to wear our LS jerseys once. After Day 1 we were always in pink (or rose as we dubbed it for anti-pink Jenny)
On Day 1, Jenny struggled to adjust to the altitude, but we still finished just three minutes off Nikki Kimball and Tracy Garneau's time from the year before and we established a big lead. We were both solid on day 2, not pushing too much, and by the end of the day, we knew something would have to go really wrong for us to lose. After that, we stepped off the gas a little bit. We stopped for lots of photos, we can-can'ed on the high mountain passes, we posed with gorillas, and I ate chocolate at every aid station. And on the last day we ran in thrift store "finery" and cut up leader jerseys (which we both separately got approved from the race directors- haha!). By the end of the week, we finished 2 hours and 21 minutes ahead of fellow La Sportiva runner Nicola Gildersleeve and her partner Shauna Connaughton, the runners-up in the women's division.
Happy to be on the trails!

Learning our style: Jenny did better in the lead. I was happy just to follow
Day 2- Hope Pass @12,600 feet
Post run Goretex gear testing
Monkeying around on Day 4. Three miles left till margaritas!
The up side of climbing: great views!
The top! Day 5
Ooh la la! Embracing the pink and ready to run on Day 6

After arriving to work, a colleague pointed out that you have to lift the handle in order to pry the latch back into place. And with that one little maneuver, the door was back to normal. I, too, know that I will pop back to normal in no time. And instead of lifting the handle, I have other secret tricks for righting myself: more running diversions! This weekend I will be compounding my fatigue and sleep deprivations with the Salty Sistas at Hood to Coast and then in three weeks I will be headed back to Colorado for another run in the Rockies! Hopefully, those will placate me enough to keep me from pacing a hole in my office "cage."

I highly recommend the TransRockies Run. The organization was flawless, the scenery was beautiful and the high mountain passes were, well, breathtaking. Just be prepared for a little let down when it is time to return to reality.