I’ve done some scary things in 2016- left my career as a mental health therapist, the hubby and I moved from New Mexico to Massachusetts, we made the bold decision to remain childfree, and I delved back into the uncertainties of “exploring” as far as career goes. These leaps have been all at once empowering and terrifying. I’ve learned (sometimes begrudgingly) to be open to being a novice in my environment and job. I’ve discovered new things about myself in regards to how I want to live and be in this world. I survived this shifting of identity so far and have a deeper respect for the reality of fluidity in personal ascriptions.
While working out these life changes on the trail, as I normally do, it seems I’ve built up quite the solid base with my weekly long runs being between 12-16 miles for the past 8 months or more now. I’ve not been training for anything in particular, just running for the sake of running and gently increasing my time spent in the woods out of pure love and joy.
At the end of November/beginning of December I ran a nice smooth 16 miles on a trail called the Wapack. It is a 21.5 mile-long trail that runs from the north central part of Massachusetts into the south central part of New Hampshire. It is a glorious trail with a mix of rolling and steep climbs that mostly follows a ridgeline of monadnocks (a geologic formation that is common in New England). The run inspired me and I went home to my husband and said, “I want to run that whole trail as an out and back!”…it turns out lots of people had already had that thought and came up with an ultramarathon called the Wapack and Back. I immediately said YES! or hell yes! or holy hell yes! I can’t really remember but your get the gist.
Running farther than I have ever run (farthest so far was a fun but novice and slightly disastrous 32 miles in the Los Alamos, NM mountains) brings up that voice I’ve been making friends with that tells me to back off and keep it moderate and not push things…and it also sometimes screams at me that I am not capable. You know, the voice of fear. I decided that continuing my hot and cold relationship with fear would only aid in my quality of life, so, I’ll be starting training this week (I’m clearly hoping that the whole “with pain comes growth” thing still works if it is voluntary pain).
I’m looking forward to crossing the finish line whilst holding hands with fear and self-doubt. I’m also hoping those voices will tell me that I can’t eat as much as I think I can after the run and I’ll show them up twice in one day. It’s good to have a variety of goals nowadays.