Wasatch Part 2. The Aftermath.

No you didn’t miss anything, and no, I didn’t lose the ability to logically order number sequences.  I ran Saturday; for the third time since Wasatch, the third time in the last month.  Saturday was a short jaunt, a 6 mile run from Brighton up to Sunset Peak, but it brought me back to the last time I was on the trail. Combined with Sunday’s additional return to the scene of the crime, with a ride up to gain the ridge and on the Wasatch Crest, I finally understood that I needed to tell this part of the story first.  First, before I could put words to a race report.

An after the fact, fyi: Wasatch screwed up my ITBands pretty bad.

I’ve spent 3 out of the past 4 weeks growing patience in recovery.  I walked away from Wasatch, making plea bargains with my IT Bands, telling them if they let me finish, that I wouldn’t even try to run for a few weeks.  Little did I know how close to the truth this would be.  I spent the first two weeks making peace with this, if I didn’t run now, I could run later. Week number 3, to be honest, was stressful at work and even more stressful on me.  When you stop moving, your body becomes cranky in ways that your brain can’t comprehend.  With much relief, 3 weeks and 5 hours after I started Wasatch, I ran almost 2.5 miles around the local park.  A week of being sick derailed other plans, but about 4 weeks and a few hours shy of finishing Wasatch, I returned to scene of the crime.

I left the Brighton parking lot and headed up towards Catherine’s Pass… it was a cold crisp day, about 45 F, and not all that much warmer than when I left Brighton a month earlier.  That, however, felt incredibly close to zero.  This time, I ran up the trail.  I felt incredibly slow.  Painfully reminded that I had been reduced to almost no physical activity and on and off sickness for the past month; turns out there’s not a whole lot of oxygen at 10,000′.  But I was able to run!  My withdrawl symptoms slowly vanished and every footstep brought back a memory of all my training runs.

My bike ride Sunday was much the same.  Brian and I rode The Crest, another not-so-subtle reminder that I haven’t done anything for a month (and I’m “racing” my bicycle for 6 hours next weekend!? (wtf!)).  Despite feeling out of sync with my bike, I needed that day in the mountains.  The route of travel was in reverse from what I covered in Wasatch, and the mountains glowing with the screaming yellow of Aspen trees, a contrast from hollow black night, only lit by the moon, that Jenny and I plodded through a month ago.  Still I could see the race in perspective, the gusting winds from Scott’s Pass Aid, the leftover campfire at Desolation, the top of the first climb out of blunder fork where Jenny had told me we were almost done climbing.

As I got into that ride, similar to getting into that run, I emerged and found myself for the first real time after the race.  There was something there still, more running, hiking, more freedom and the capacity to get lost in the mountains. Wasatch was this… The ability to set your mind to something and to be able to pick yourself up time after time to get there. The discovery that I had completed this huge distance, right here in my backyard, and there was still so much more to cover.  Then, finally, the realization that your body might trust you to let yourself go back out there again and allow you to put words to a 33 hour void.  Saturday, as I ran past Catherine’s and gravitated towards Sunset Peak (maybe more aptly named Sunrise?), I found expression and gratitude for every little step, every little battle, I took coming out of Brighton that morning 4 weeks prior.

Second Sunrise: The way up to Point Supreme (Photo by Eric Dacus)

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About Wheels

mantra: love people, cook them tasty food, love life! Scientist. Engineer. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Coffee snob. Ultra-runner. Skier. Cyclist. Cook. Beer snob. Dog-lover. Volunteer. A former midwesterner, I moved to Utah to play in the mountains and found so much more life waiting for me here.

4 thoughts on “Wasatch Part 2. The Aftermath.

  1. Good luck in Frog Hollow! I’m headed to the 25-hour race next month, and realizing that it’s way too soon after any 100-miler in the Wasatch Mountains. Sorry to hear about your injury. Now that I’ve seen the full Bear 100 I’d love to try the Wasatch 100 someday. The first time I heard of ultrarunning was during a mountain bike tour on the White Rim in 2003. My friend’s aunt told us all about her completion of the Wasatch 100 in the early 90s. I was completely blown away that people actually did stuff like run 100 miles in one shot. I never dreamed I’d line up for something like that myself someday.

  2. Woo! Now I just need to come back out and see the route in the daylight. . . Also, now that you realize 10,000′ is high, just think about your pacer from Florida felt 🙂

  3. OMG Jill commented on your post! We’re blog-famous!

    Glad you’re running again, and good luck on the bike race this weekend! I’m excited about the 25 hours. I’ve actually been riding my bike. Turns out it’s a great way to wear Boris out!

  4. Yay for Frog Hollow!

    Jill, we’re joining in the 25 hours in Frog Hollow as well. My boyfriend and I thought 6 hours would be a good warm-up and a good excuse to play on Gooseberry too. We are not in the hardcore realm of doing 25 hours solo though, more power to you! No matter how you feel, that area is always a great excuse to have fun on a bike! We’ll be the team of 5 trail runners who look like they just realized they signed up for that and are trying to remember how to bike, would love to say hi if we run in to you! Also, I highly recommend Wasatch, I’m sure it’s really something special if you grew up with that backyard.

    Spike- Coming back for a fun daytime 24 mile jaunt on that trail (or the next) is a must!

    Adele- We’ll come back with course recon for ya. I’m excited for it.

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