Eagleton Trail Ultra---Finding My Heartbeat

“I’m going to run a 50k on Sunday”, I told Mark.

He gave me that look.   That look that I know immediately means he’s running through schedules and commitments.   “You’re kinda running on empty. Are you sure?”, he said.

“I’m a little lost.  I need to find my way.  I need my heart to beat”.

And, with that, I set off to Pennsylvania for the 50k.

My only goal in this race was to find a new normal with my nutrition, which has taken a knock with a new little body glitch.  That task actually proved pretty easy to manage. All I had to do is stop looking at what I could NOT do, and focus on what was still available to me.  True, I had to open my mind to food choices I had not previously accepted, but, all in all, the process was not the roadblock I had expected it to be.

The real change hit me when I hit the first hill in the course.   My heart was beating out of my chest. I actually stopped to feel it.    I took my mind out of the experience, and decided to just feel.

I felt so alive!  

My heartbeat is always there, but on this day, and on that hill, I could feel it.

It did not care that my schedule is full or that I have been getting about 3 hours of sleep each night, or that I’ve seen more doctors in the past year, than I have in the past five.

In this race, I got to cross more rivers than I could count.  I ran through untamed landscapes. I climbed. I felt the wind...the rain (a lot of rain)...the sun.   

And, ¼ mile from the finish, I got lost.

Somehow, I zigged when I should have zagged and I added 2.5 extra miles on to my race (complete with more river crossings and climbs).   But, it was ok. When I found my way back to where I went astray, I acknowledged it, and pushed to the finish line. It was ok. I didn’t care.  I saw it as an opportunity to be something I look back on with a smile vs a grimace.

In the days since the race, I’ve taken the chance to look at other areas of my life where I’ve needed to feel my heartbeat.   I took notice of where I was not doing enough and where it really mattered that I do more. I let some frustrations out, and let some things go.   I reaffirmed that I need to count blessings and not checks on a to-do list.

I’m still a little lost.  I still need to find my way.  But, I have a heartbeat, and it is strong, wild and will not be tamed!


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