That's the question that my mom and many others often ask me after my ultras - why?
There's heaps of fun, great people you meet, and c'mon, admit it, it's kinda cool to be eating M&Ms and running through a stream at the same time. And that runner's high - it's like nothing else. If you haven't ever experienced it, it's impossible to describe, but it's kind of like that amazing free feeling you have after you have a really good orgasm. (Not the orgasm itself, but after, that ahhhhhhhhhh....) I also feel moments of absolute complete bliss, 100% happiness, incredible freedom. I do love to run. I love the trails, I love the ultras, I love the community, I love the calories burnt (and the food eaten after), I love the "war" stories, I love the joking, I love how you can be gross (Member of your attracted sex running next to you? Tell him about having GI distress at your last 100 and he's likely to be impressed you finished instead of disgusted.), I love how everyone helps each other, I love how I get to see all these cool places I never would otherwise see. It's pretty amazing. I love how I learn about so many new things, about people and life and the world. I learn about running and my heart and my spirit. I explore myself, I expand myself, I find myself.
But yesterday's race - why did I do it? I love Rick, who directs the NJ Trail Series with his friendly wife, Jennifer (and their food spreads are amazing for ultras - I told them I want them catering my wedding should I ever get married - M&Ms with salty chips for all!). South Mountain Reservation was nice and close to the city. Mishka and Peter were doing it - some more bonding with my fave ultra newbies! I've run the course before and figured it would be fun.
It wasn't. In a way, it was, but the cold, the pain. And now -my toes are still numb a day later, despite hot showers, warm socks, and dancing in my cute warm snow boots until 3a.m. There is an excruciating pain in my shins that kept me from running and cross-training today. I can't sit on the floor easily without needing help up, and my walking is laughable. I'm eating nonstop - which sounds fun, but oh, all those dishes to wash! I'm SO tired - my mind and my body.
Yesterday's race was SO difficult. It was incredibly hard to run in the snow, in the wet puddles, in the mud. Up and down, up and down, wet foot, argh. My shins were hurting, my feet were ice blocks. They still feel numb - what is wrong with me?
But I met two really rad women while running - and we had a lot of fun running together. I got to see the enjoyment on Peter's face - who heard about the race through me (and my nudging of trying to get him into ultras). It was beautiful - absolutely gorgeous snowscape. I felt alive.
And as Melanie kept saying, "We are so badass because we're finishing.''
And finish we did, and badass we are.