It's been a little over a month since this event. After having more time to process all that occurred, I feel it's necessary to write some more thoughts down here.
Crossing that finish line was such a unique, awesome feeling. When people asked me how it went, I was sort of speechless. It was hard? Was it though? I don't know what just happened?
It's difficult to explain and maybe some of you know what I mean.
Objectively it was hard, but I wouldn't describe it as being tough... in fact, quite the opposite.
I studied the map. I knew the first section of the route included two large climbs, up various parts of the ski hill. Once we started to climb, I paced myself based on the terrain, attempting to strategically pick my line and place my feet in the path of least resistance. I guess this is when the outside world started to fade.
At the 15km mark, I popped out of the trail where there was an aid station and food tent with people cheering. Hearing all the noise and seeing the crowd felt like someone had just snapped me back to reality? As I reached for some food to grab and go, I saw my hands out in front of me. I didn't really recognize them? It literally took me a second to realize these were my hands and that they were attached to my body (bizarre, I know).
It took me 6 hours and 56 minutes to run 55km with 2400m elevation. Nearly 7 hours! What?! 7 hours sounds like eternity to be running and climbing but let me tell you, those 7 hours were very very different then what 7 hours usually feels like. It's a blur. I remember some sections but not all. I realize now, this is what it means and feels like to be PRESENT. Because what is time when you are present?
It's as if nothing else mattered.
I disappeared into the terrain.
I became the run.
It was bliss.
I would say, the last 5 km I came out of this flow, I guess because the end was near and I could hear the crowd at the base from far away. When I started to think of the end, I also started to feel tightness in my right leg and that's when things started to feel hard. Of course, in theory it makes sense that the last 5 km of a 55km run would be challenging, but I think it was hard for other reasons.
This event really did change my life. I think I now really understand what being present means and feels like, and man is it amazing.
I am slowly integrating these concepts into my day to day life. My goal is to be doing what I am doing and not be thinking of anything else. Do one thing at a time. When present, our efficiency is exponential. I make to do lists and calendars to help organize my thoughts and if something is on my mind even after writing it down, I rate it's urgency. Lower on the urgency scale, let it go. Higher, do something about it now. Being anything but present is really a waste of energy.
Not all runs or events will feel like this, I know because 2 weeks later I ran another 30 km race and my mind wasn't there and it was such a different experience. Being fully present all of time is a dream. It's not something that just happens, it takes daily and ongoing practice and I'm here for it!
The time is now.