• Post race carnage. Three Peaks. Pen-y-ghent in the background

    Yorkshire, England

  • Martin Cox explains how the cracks formed...

    Yorkshire Dales, England

  • Tris took me climbing above what Wordsworth called "the most beautiful square mile in England."

    Lake District, England

  • Oh, yes I did.

    Horton-in-Ribblesdale, England

  • Emelie Forsberg after her 2nd place finish at the Three Peaks race

    Horton-in-Ribblesdale

  • "Hmmm, I wonder if Rickey and Emelie are entered...?"

    Yorkshire Dales, England

  • This is the look a swan gives you before it violently pecks your eyeballs.

    Annecy, France

  • Cankles

    Annecy, France

  • Got out for a climb up Mt. Tiede on the island of Tenerife

    Canary Islands, Spain

  • One of the several telescopes on the top of the island of La Palma

    Canary Islands, Spain

  • A short section of the Transvulcania

    Canary Islands, Spain

Out of the Fog

May 19, 2012Tags: Transvulcania, Emelie Forsberg, Three Peaks, Symonds, Frost, Dakota

A three week trip to England, France and the Canary Islands. Life with injury. Home.

If everything had gone according to plan, I would have dropped at mile 36 of 50. I had just passed Geoff who was not feeling great and Mike Wolfe shortly after, who wasn’t feeling much better. “Really, I’m not going to be continuing on much longer,” I told them. My reason for pulling would have been for the nagging injury that I have brought with me since Trans Rockies, last August – an evil presence sometimes in my hamstring, sometime in my glute, sometimes in my IT band was feeling better than it had in months. It had brought me to a screeching halt two weeks earlier at the Three Peaks race in England.

“Maybe you just need to run a really long race,” Geoff had told me a couple days earlier. “That’s how I got rid of my last hamstring issue.” Though, something tells me that running a really long race is Geoff’s remedy for everything from hangovers to paralysis.

I picked my way along the edge of the crater where, to the east the land dropped off steeply to the port town of Santa Cruz de la Palma. On the opposite side the earth fell several thousand feet into the crater before tapering off to the finish line of Los Llanos with the Atlantic ocean just beyond and the coast of Florida several thousand miles past the shore. I had learned a couple days earlier that the Canarian island of La Palma is actually the steepest island in the world. At that moment, it felt it.

For having no intention of even arriving at the finish line, finding myself in the top ten of what many were considering to be the most competitive ultra marathons to date, was not something I had expected. I pulled into the mile 36 checkpoint, Roque de los Muchachos, where I had intended on pulling to be greeted by the head product designer for Salomon. “Reeekeeee!! you are doing fantastiiiick!!! Bravo, Reeeekeeee!!” Serge is a mad scientist of sorts, with sewing machines instead of beakers Fabric instead of chemicals. Another designer insists that he maintains that enthusiasm at work. All day, every day. That’s real endurance.

Though I knew the 7000foot descent wasn’t going to feel good, my leg wasn’t feeling bad and I knew that the descent wasn’t going to feel great for anybody. But mostly, I couldn’t let Serge down.

This trip through being injured (and I haven’t finished this journey) has been trying to say the least, but not without it’s rewards. For the past five months a muscle strand the back of my upper left has consumed my attention entirely. I have thought about it so much that I have convinced myself on more than one occasion that my thoughts alone are creating the pain and therefore an endless cycle. I sought the healing hands and insite of a russian healer, an iranian healer, an acupuncturist, a dry needler, an MAT, ART, MD. I made progress with a few of them.

Though i’m not out of the clear yet, I’ve learned that a large part of being injured has to do with succumbing to mental state of being injured. Both, convincing yourself that you are injured or that you are not injured. At a certain point, none of it really makes sense.

I scrambled down the 7000foot descent for what felt like hours… probably was, now that I think about it. The toenails that I had just grown back took a beating and will soon go the direction of all my other toe nails. As I approached the finish line, I repeatedly glanced over my shoulder to make sure that I wasn’t going to get “Frosted”. It was close.

Now. I’m back in San Francisco. Training. Biking. Doing things that I do. ┬áIt was a great honor to be a part of the Transvulcania event. It showed “a new page” as Greg Vollet put it. The performances by Dakota Jones, Anna Frost and Andy Symonds were historical.

A long and interesting season is before us.