Saturday, April 18, 2009

Nearing an

Date: April 17 and 18
Mileage: 37.4 and 32.2
April mileage: 656.6
Temperature: 46 and 40

I was still stoked from all of my Tuesday snow biking when I pounded out 60 miles in less than three and a half hours Wednesday, and since then, I just haven't been able to get my legs back. I've gone out looking for them, but mostly coming up with nothing. Lack of enthusiasm; dull ache in my quads; urge to lie down and take a nap in the boggy, ice-crusted grass.

"Maybe you're coming down with something," Geoff said.

"I'm not sick," I said. "Just tired."

Sometimes life catches up with me. And sometimes it just rushes by.

I struggled under a crush of boxes and bins as I hauled another carload of crap to the storage unit. One of the benefits of moving often is that it allows you to regularly assess your worldly possessions and realize just how little they mean to you. I can't manage to completely part with this stuff, but yet I can leave it all behind. I lifted the only light bin in the mix and peeked inside. My winter sleeping bag fluffed up and tried to escape the rigid confines of hard plastic. I slammed the lid back down and smiled. That sleeping bag has been my lifeline in hard times, and yet its only real worth is in the places I carry it. I stacked the bin at the top of a small pile in a plywood-lined closet, turned off the light, and left.

As I dug through my car, I found an old piece of paper stuffed in the door. A long list of numbers filled the faded sheet, front and back - a score card from a series of Gin Rummy games that Geoff and I played as we meandered across the country in 2001. I fingered the old paper, ripped and crinkled with rain drops, ballpoint pen faded yellow, and followed the long string of numbers until they petered out, final score 1,993 to 1,926. Geoff won. He was the one keeping score, adding numbers in his head beneath the labels "J-Pod" and "G-Pod." I smiled, because I didn't even remember referring to each other with that kind of nickname, and it was long before the days of iPod, but, either way, it was probably looked just as geeky then as it does now. But that was more than 120,000 miles ago; the Twin Towers still stood in New York and we were still innocent; or, at least, we hadn't discovered ultra-running and cycling yet.

Every time I approach a life change, I'm met with all sorts of regret and unrest. It's not focused negativity; it's just there, reminding me that, regardless of what happens, I can't return to the same situation as the same person. It reminds me that I didn't do things perfectly, that I don't always treat my life with the awe and love it deserves even as I struggle with powerless legs as the rain dissolves the snow and exposes a winter's worth of decay. That maybe Geoff and I haven't been spending as much time together as we should because we've been so caught up in our own lives. That maybe it will be strange to get in a small car and travel across the continent together, again.

But I found this old scorecard, and maybe now, eight years, 120,000 clicks on the Geo's odometer, and countless running, biking and hiking miles later, we can pick up the Gin Rummy game where we left off. There's adventure in that, too, in an innocent way that all the ultras we pour our hearts into can never fill.