“The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss - an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. - is sure to be noticed.” ~ Soren Kierkegaard
This is one of my favorite Kierkegaard quotes, one I've used here before, and yet there are periods in my life when I lose myself slowly, quietly, insidiously, unnoticed by all but that self inside myself. That self knew it all along. She knew that all was not well in there. No one else may have noticed, or cared. But that little self did and her little voice echoed through the emptiness inside. There were glimmers of hope at times, flashes and sparks that just fizzled out and died from lack of oxygen.
In the process it looks like I a took a bit of a writing hiatus since, ummm, August of last year. I'm not sure why exactly. Life got very very busy: between work, and training, and parenting, and dealing with an elderly parent who lives too far away and needs a lot of help (but professes complete independence), and traveling for races (FWP), and politics, and more politics...and just life. I was exhausted. Worn down. Soul weary. I think that being in a profession that aims to help people can be a double-edged sword: Helping can feed the spirit. But, there is often the feeling of giving everything to everyone. But if you don't nurture something in yourself, eventually your spirit becomes threadbare. About the time I started heeding the warnings of that little self inside myself, my blog disappeared from the interwebs. Suddenly I cared. I was sad, though I felt I had noting to write. Nothing left to give. Nothing important or interesting to say. I had nothing to offer the world.
And then last week I had the most wonderful, magical run. It was the best run I had had in months. As I weaved my way up Mt. Sanitas, I ran higher into the low clouds. It was bitter cold and damp, droplets of moisture filled the air. In conditions like this, the moisture stays liquid because it has no time to freeze as it falls to the ground. That is, until it settles on tall grasses, boulders, pine trees - and then it freezes in an instant, encasing the world in shimmering, glowing silver-white faerie crystals. It felt as though I was flying through a magical faerie world. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. No one else was out. All was icy still and quiet. I stood atop the summit, usually crowded with hikers and runners and kids and dogs, completely alone, in the clouds. I could see nothing below but whiteness going on forever...
And I flew down that trail, a trail I love to really let loose on. And on this day, for the first time in a very long time, my body let me fly. As I approached the road going up Sunshine Canyon, I was sad that it had to end. I wanted this run to go on and on...
But, now I had to get down the bad stuff. The trail along Sunshine is shaded and icy. I ran up it fine, but down is a different deal. On most sections you can stay on the trail (No social trails, thank you!) but still skirt the bad ice. The amount of iciness really didn't warrant bringing traction...or so I told myself.
About a mile from the car, I approached a section in the trees cut into the slope, no way around it, going down and around a tight bend. I stopped and walked, carefully, but not nervous and stiff. In a split second both feet shot out from under me and I crashed to the ice. Frozen and in pain, I know I howled and cursed. A lot. I hadn't seen anyone for over an hour, so who the hell would hear anyway. I lay there, looking through the trees to the flat white sky above. Breathe in, breathe out. Many seconds pass. I get myself upright and walk gingerly on. A woman and her large shepherd approach, I'm not moving well but at least I'm up. She has no idea what just happened. We pass. She says, as I guard my injured body from her dog's approach "He's friendly." She could have blown on me and I would have gone down in a heap of tears...but I somehow I got back to the car...
“Unfortunately, the clock is ticking, the hours are going by. The past increases, the future recedes. Possibilities decreasing, regrets mounting.” ~ Haruki Murakami
I haven't had a running injury, a real running injury, from - you know - running, in a long time (Yes. I was knocking on wood as I typed that), but after a week of letting things settle down it is now clear that I have wrecked my tailbone. I was in denial, mostly, with moments of tears, panic, anger, self-loathing/recriminations, etc. for the past week - But reality is now telling me that this will not pass peacefully into that dark night, like so many other crashes I've taken. I have the Black Canyon 100k in a week. Due to my schedule this is my best shot at getting my third ticket for Western States Endurance Run, which seems to be dictating a lot of my plans at this point - for what I know not. And, worse, I actually planned to take my family along for the fun. So, not only will I be crushed if I can't run, but my daughter may be crushed even more.
Today, Shirley Plaatjes, my massage therapist, suggested I pray. It may only be running, but it matters. I will do my own variety of praying. Time's-a-tickin' and I do not have time to play with. I will do everything in my power to do what I set out to do.
“The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.” ~ Leo Tolstoy