Written October 15, 2015...
Even though it’s been a month now, the Goretex Transalpine Run (TAR) still comes up in conversation. Today, in one of those catch-up conversations where lifetimes become shrugs and single sentences, I summarized in brief this year’s challenges – injuries, unachieved goals, running without a partner – and was met with an equally abbreviated response: well, you got a chance to overcome adversity and all that. And the conversation moved forward as casually as a Starbucks line.
A month ago, I may have waved my hands dramatically: no, you don’t get it. It’s more than just that. You have no idea. Then, I’d try to make him get the picture, sharing bits and pieces of the arsenal we secretly hashtagged #therealTAR, but never posted to social media. Tears over injuries and those tough conversations with my running partner where we stared each other down and swore that our friendship meant more than finishing any stage. Hyperventilating on a mountainside with an unwanted stranger masquerading as my partner, kindly offering me gummies when all I wanted was my buddy back on the trails. Legs so puffed and pained on the downhills that my Marilyn Monroe-ing, mint gelato running skirt wasn’t even enough to make me smile. Oh, if somebody needed stories of adversity, I could deal out Big Drama.
Perhaps my friend today understood the situation – and me – more than I realized. Because today, the reduction of my Big Drama to adversity and all that (AAAT) evoked nothing more in me than an agreeable shrug. It took me longer to get here than I’d like to admit. My struggle with the challenges of TAR got in my head, and I had to confront in myself a(n albeit small) hitch in my usual state of relative buoyancy. This year, there was no snapping myself out of it, and it was more the hope of gelato at the finish line and a need to justify the vibrancy of our accordion running skirts that kept me rolling, than any kind of inner strength or resiliency.
That being said, the race got done. My friendship with Rene is stronger, as much due to our ability to just wait it out together as our imagination in supporting one another. And, despite the noggin fog that AAAT caused, I have a memories of those small things that make up why I love spending hours in the mountains: feeling my feet make their way along the rocks to the sounds of super (hear zzzzzuperrrr!) and phantastisch in Germany to belle! and bravo! in Italy, cowbells playing percussion the whole way.