Blog Posts

Recovery, Everything Changes, Fire & Ice

By August 7, 2015 No Comments
Last day! Charity stage.

Last day! Charity stage.

“The Marathon des Sables is animalian and primal and like a tattoo for your soul and a way to stay grounded to this life and a church and the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in my 33 years on this massive blue-and-green planet.” –Meghan Hicks, 2012*

It’s been 3 ½ months since I got home from Morocco.  Still healing up a bit, sorting through what’s different and what the trajectory looks like from here. Because it’s wildly different than the one I had when I left.

Recovery: I felt decent after 2 weeks (though still hungry!) and pretty darn good after 4.  Got back to running & completed a for-fun 10K trail race — and watched my ankle swell up like a puffball.

Joshua Spring Trail 10K -- puffy ankle & all

Joshua Springs Trail 10K — puffy ankle & all

Dayam! — it seems that tendons & ligaments are slowest to heal.

Took it easy with mileage, very easy with terrain, and added 3X a week swim workouts.  As South Texas has been hitting 100 degrees for most days! the swim workouts have been a welcome break + helped to build upper body strength. Win.

The other part that’s more difficult to describe but much more pronounced: I’m a different person than I was before the race — & it’s more than just the new tattoo.

MdS Tattoo! After 2nd round of ink.

MdS Tattoo! After 2nd round of ink.

I’m less afraid of, well… everything. Heights, whether I’m meeting someone’s “approval”, hell whether I’m meeting *anyone’s* approval but my own.  Running 155 miles in harsh conditions for a week while living out of a backpack is surely part of it, but so is seeing the moon come up over the sand dunes 18 hours into the long stage — and feeling my molecules get rearranged — because holy hell that is a magical place.

Friendships have changed, too with some firm boundaries, a letting go of a lot of negative crap & focusing on what’s good & huge & possible. A bunch of hard work toward building a life I actually want to live.

I raced a lot in the 18 months leading up to MdS – back-to-back Ironman races, New Year’s Double 50ks, Lighthouse 50K, Rocky 50-mile, Prairie Spirit 100, Palo Duro 50, Woodlands Marathon, Cowtown 50K, Comrades Ultra in South Africa. Whew!  I have less planned for this race season, although schedule is still a work in progress:  100K in August, Javelina 100-miler in October, & New Year’s Double 50ks (huge favorite) at year end.

Fire and Ice

Seriously — they had me at “lava fields”.

And oh yeah! Fire and Ice — a 250k stage race in Iceland next August.  Similar format to MdS, but with glaciers, new volcanic landscape, steam vents & hot pools – “passing through landscapes only seen in science fiction films”.


*Meghan is a past winner of MdS (2013) and one of the most gracious athletes I’ve been privileged to meet. She was racing again this year (her 5th MdS!) finishing in top 5 — & always took the time to cheer, offer tips & encouragement to other racers.  Really, a class act.