157 Days – Beautiful Mistakes

It was approaching midnight as I picked up the pace, finishing up my last lap on trails, around a small park in San Diego.  I’d been running since 6pm that evening, in 5k circles, watching the sun fade and the full moon shine brightly.  My finish line approach was a bit anti climactic.  I had been running without a light so the RD didn’t see me come in until I shouted out ‘Number 47!’  As soon as I did he smiled and congratulated me, handing me the clock that I had just earned – as the 1st overall finisher of the Rohring Round The Clock 6 Hour Race (the night event).

If you value my ego,  don’t ask me how many people were in the race.  It was a very small first year event, consisting of two 6 hr runs, a 12 hr, a 24 hr and a 100 mile option.  But right place, right time, and being very successful with nutrition and pacing did equal a great night of running.

This journey was born while I sat in a tattoo shop last Monday, getting my 3rd butterfly tattoo, to commemorate my last 100 mile finish, and texting Alexa.  Most Team Trouble adventures were born with about the same text:  ‘Hey… what are you up to this weekend?’  I was going to wait until the Old Goat 50 miler before running another ultra, but there were some things I wanted to test out before before that event, and honestly, I was ready to race again!   I needed a night of the wind in my hair, the trail below my feet, and to do this for… well… me.

There’s usually something big in my head that pushes me to the finish line of a challenging race.  My head is sorting through a problem that the time by myself seems to resolve, or I’m thinking about someone that I want to impress/make proud.  This night was very different.  My head bounced back and forth between a lot of things, but mostly I was just enjoying the event, digging deep to see what was inside me that night, and my desire was simply do this for myself and for my own sense of well being.   I loved the competitive aspect of racing and pushing my body to extremes, but recently I have come to fall in love again with running for the sheer joy of being on the trails.

The idea of a ‘beautiful mistake’ is a concept that nothing in life is truly a mistake… that every decision make leads you exactly where you need to be.  Was this night a mistake?  I thought, as I started to feel a little tired 3 hours in.  I was jumping back into an ultra when I had planned to take more time down.  6 hours on the trails, tearing down my body, sacrificing sleep certainly wasn’t the healthiest thing I could be doing to achieve my strength goals.

My life seems like a collaberation of beautiful mistakes – decisions made that aren’t always the ‘right’ ones, but that always lead me to the right place.  As Alexa and I took the long drive back to Los Angeles, I smiled down at my clock thinking about how happy I was for this ‘mistake’ and thinking about all the ones I’ve made over the last few years, and what I’ve gained by following my heart, even when it lead to the ‘wrong’ places.  It’s not always about making the right decisions – the wrong ones sometimes give you even more perspective of your true character.  I have exactly who I’m supposed to have in my life right now, in exactly the right places, and I’m going the exact right direction, even if it has taken some wrong turns to get there.

 

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