Houston, we have a problem.

Re-entry is hard. It’s hard for a spaceship returning from orbit. It’s hard for an interstellar rock. They sometimes burn up. They sometimes explode.

Anyone who read some previous posts knows I went pretty dark once the races of the World Marathon Challenge started. We finished last Monday, February 5th and then I went off to Turks and Caicos which is just kind of beautiful.

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What isn’t beautiful is a conch out of it’s shell. It’s gross. It has 3 eyes. Or this one did.

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If you want to read some amazing descriptions of the World Marathon Challenge races themselves, I encourage you to check out my long-time friend and running partner’s blog at http://www.bwinter.com/. He is writing a daily post about each of the 7 races.

My reflections have been slower in coming and might continue to develop. Many friends who compete in extreme races like this report a funk descending on them days and weeks after they are done. I’m in a funk. I’m James Brown.

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My re-entry into ‘life’ has been a struggle. I don’t know that I’m depressed, but I’m certainly not filled with the spirit of the lord either.

In no particular order:

  • It’s over. I spent 14 months preparing for this event. I planned when I was going to quit my job to prepare for this event. I talked to my wife and took my kids out of school and got nasty letters from the school to prepare for this event. Early in your life, you get to achieve a lot of milestones. Graduate high school. Get into college. Graduate college. Get a job. Find a mate. Have kids. But the milestones trickle off as you age, so this was a BIG milestone. And now it’s over. My mother shared the story of a friend – in his youth an avid runner but now fighting cancer – who was following our adventure from his sick bed. The milestones fade. And then you’re just watching milestones. And then….nothing. That’s a bit morose I know, but damn I hate not having milestones.
  • As hard as it was to complete all 7 marathons, the simple fact that there were so many other people struggling, suffering and fighting far bigger obstacles than I faced was humbling to an extreme degree. I don’t have Parkinson’s. I have both legs. All of these stories just leave me….humbled. Like I could have / should have done more. I could have raised money. I could have had a cause. Selfishly, my cause was me. And I’m a shitty cause. This isn’t a cry for someone to say ‘no Andrew, you’re a fine cause’. I’m white, Princeton educated, wealthy, healthy, have healthy kids….I have privilege. It’s cool. I like it. Just a bit of funk about should I be doing more. The Universe operates in obscure ways.
  • Injury sucks. I’ve been lucky and have generally avoided injury. I have (knock on wood) no DNFs in my races. When I knew something was wrong in Marathon 4, I figured I could muscle through. I couldn’t and had to walk half of Marathon 5. Then I took some drugs and ran/walked Marathon 6 before adrenaline carried me through Marathon 7. The thing about adrenaline is it will keep you from getting eaten by a lion in the moment. But you’re likely doing some damage, and you will pay the piper. I am paying the piper now. I don’t like it. It may impact future races. We’ll see. But it’s frankly pissing me off.
  • Laundry. Lunches. Life. It’s all back where it was. You can’t spend your days on a private plane, eating Pringles and wearing your magic boots. You have to parent. You have to be a husband who APPARENTLY doesn’t complain about his leg all the time.

Normatec Boots

Those are my reflections. You do something big….meaningful…..inspirational even. And then you re-enter. I haven’t burned up. But I liked being out in the light.

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3 thoughts on “Houston, we have a problem.

  1. Although I didn’t do something as intense as the WMC I am recovering from an injury after my first 50 mile race and a subsequent funk/fear relating to that injury… I am hopeful that my ITB might finally be starting to cooperating but am definitely not feeling the best about it and the injury has affected my early season motivation.

    Here’s to both of us turning this around and making it to the start line next year healthy and ready to tackle another challenge.

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