Monday, October 1, 2012

Two Wrong Turns

“Damn. This can’t be happening again. Please, not again.”
These were my thoughts as I realized I had my second wrong turn during 2 races within 2 weeks.

Run Rabbit Run:
Very low iron for months left me slower no matter how hard I worked. Still, I figured it out and my energy was coming back. If anything, pushing myself through physical fatigue left me feeling mentally prepared.
Months back, I signed up to run a 100 miles in the beautiful mountains of Steamboat, Colorado. Months, I’ve been dreaming about the climbs I would face in the dark.
The race started straight up a mountain, I was happy, I was mentally strong. A bend in the trail, a sign saying “100 milers this way”.  Yet, that wasn’t the way (as many others found out throughout the day). 6 miles out of the way I went. A distance too hard to make up. A distance that left me dehydrated and puking when I finally got something to drink. My preparation would be useless; this wasn’t going to be my day. I was devastated, to say the least. Tears. No place to call home. No family by my side. I didn’t feel like smiling.
Thankfully, nature can heal.

Devil Mountain 50k:
“One hell of a run”
I just need something, a boost, a little confidence. I need to feel the burn in my lungs, and the changing of mountain leaves.
One week before the race, I click on the register button.
I start out fast, and it couldn’t feel better. 3 men ahead of me when I reach the intersection of ribbons. They went right. There are ribbons in both directions, definitely more to the right. I pause, waiting for someone else. He says right. I go right. Ribbons for about a quarter mile and then nothing.  Nothing till a mile later till there’s an intersection and many people on another trail. A mile added to my distance. 3 men in front of me to 40 people.  A mental battle was fought and won. I can catch up, I know I can. 10 women were passed in 6 miles to regain the lead. Tired legs from too match effort playing catch up. I’m hiking up the mountain when I should be running. “It’s okay; just do your best Sandi. Believe.”
The last aid station arrives. Two good men beside me. One great fried. “Just do your best.” A few miles to go: A steep hill. PUSH! A rolling dirt road. PUSH! I embrace the pain; I know I can hang on.
The finish. 1st place overall. Barely missed the course record (with a harder course?), stupid wrong turn. Proud- I didn’t give up. Hope…. My dreams are still there. Mountains. My home.

In a motel room. MY motel room. For now. Working here for a couple of months. A free room. Still loving playing with big hearted kids at the Boys & Girls Club. I couldn’t leave them (kids) yet. They begged me to stay. They made me better. I love them. No, I couldn’t leave yet. Then, I don’t know. I will sail by the wind.
Two months to go. Lots of work ahead. Faith. Sacrifice. Beauty. Mountains. My heart. Let’s see what I can do with two months of being healthy. Hellgate 100k or North Face 50? Will my indecisiveness ever stop? Doubtful. That’s okay, things seem to work out.
I explain my crazy, indecisive, unsure life to a friend. Friend asks:” Would you have it any other way?” Me: “Absolutely not.” A smile on my face.

Buena Vista: Home for now