Not sure exactly when it happened, but sometime last year I woke up realizing my world had gotten a little… small. Comfy. And I was running out of time to do some of the cool stuff still on my “list”. Ironman triathlons were a great experience & ultra-running was fun, but I was missing that combo of excitement + sheer terror that lets me know when I’m stretching my soul.
Then I saw the info on TransArabia – 300K across the Sahara desert in Jordan — & fell in love. Swooned over the photos, studied gear lists, training schedules, skills I would need to learn (compass navigation!) & physical requirements. And it scared the pants off me in that zingy smells-like-freedom kind of way.
So I set about building a race schedule that would get me to the Sahara desert in November — including an Ironman “double-header” (2 full IMs, 2 weeks apart), back-to-back 50Ks (New Year’s Eve & Day), trail races at 50 & 100-miles, Comrades Ultra in S. Africa, and a 3-day, 60 mile stage race across the Colorado Rockies – all in the 12 months leading up to TransArabia. Knew it would be crazy-hard! & fabulous all at the same time.
Started working with Liza Howard (fabulous coach!), upped my focus on nutrition, strength training, yoga and meditation. Made a timeline that runs along the entire wall of my study – outlining weekly training focus, goal mileage, & key race dates. (Yeah, it’s a little obsessive, err… focused.)
So here I am, about halfway through – and packing up for next week’s trek to South Africa. It has been amazing so far and most everything I had hoped.
I have learned a ton about training, nutrition, endurance sports stuff. Even more about myself — that I’m stronger than I ever imagined, that heading out with my pack & a full day of running makes my heart sing, and that Cheez-Its at the 90-mile aid station are pure gold.
Also finding– though you would think I would remember this part! – that deliberately choosing to do something epic and life-changing will cause your life to change in ways you never expected. Choosing a bigger life, strengthening your soul brings into sharper focus those things – places, connections, habits – that need to change, as their present form no longer “fits” with who you are.
Deep breath for courage, strength, love. Maybe two breaths for love. & a prayer for safe travel.