"Anyone whose goal is "something higher" must expect someday to suffer vertigo. What is vertigo? Fear of falling? No, Vertigo is something other than fear of falling. It is the voice of emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves."
I have read this quote multiple times today. It hit me when I saw it this morning because it has summed up the past few days.
Since Sunday we have all been recovering from our ski trip. As you know from my previous post, it was a wonderful experience and I really did enjoy myself. I came back feeling refreshed and relaxed.
"Came back" being the word here. As mentioned before, I am not really fond of change. Like many, I hate returning from vacations. This trip was no different. So much so that my own father could tell when we were talking on the phone the other night.
"You are not happy to be back are you?....You miss it out there don't you? Why do you think I have spent my life fighting for and defending it? Just hang on...one day you will get there...and you can always return to visit until then."
He hit the nail on the head. I do miss it. I miss everything about it. I miss walking thru the forests and mountains. I miss seeing nothing but snow in front of me and the silence it brings. I miss looking up and feeling the flakes drop from the grey sky onto my face. It has been hard. It is like spring here in Lexington and I miss winter. I know it will be back soon...but nothing like what it was in the mountains. I miss 4 degree days on my skin!
I also find myself harping on an experience I had on those mountains. I experienced fear. Fear that literally stopped me in my tracks (err....skis).
Downhill skiing terrified me. So much so that at one point my brain was literally telling me "Andi-do not do this". I took my boots out of the bindings and made my way to the lodge on foot. I can't remember a time when I backed down from a physical challenge. It really caught me off guard. While I was in the lodge...all warm and toasty by the fire...the anger did nothing but build. In the end I stepped back into my skis and returned outside....but it was the first time in a long time I doubted my ability to do something. It really was a wake up call. I felt like a kid. I did not trust myself and my body to not get hurt. The instinct was so strong it made me back away. It was odd. The fear made me cry and shake. I have never been so pissed at myself. I was determined to get past it...and made some progress...but it left me feeling that much "less."
It was during this trip that I realized this fear had been building...it had been festering since I tore my ankle up the week before and it had finally come to a head. That whole race left me feeling defeated as a person and runner. It made me feel foolish.
Since that has happened I have been taking it easy and avoiding the trails and fields. I am not sure if this is a good thing. It has me feeling lazy. It has me missing it....but at the same time it has me worried that I will get hurt again. It really has me confused and lost when it comes to running. I have been reading my Trail Runner magazine...looking at all the races coming up in the spring and I am doubting myself. I am even wondering if going out to Colorado is worth it.
I have taken a few days off from running, which I never do. I went out for a run last night and my legs felt like they were tree trunks. It was horrible. I had fun while doing it but could not help but remind myself that my body does not like time off. I came inside winded and exhausted. I sat in the shower staring at my ankle...cursing it....really not thinking much of anything.
I have no idea where the doubt is coming from. I need to get past it and I think the trails are the only way this will happen. As I type this I am looking out into the fields behind my house and they are calling. Perhaps this is just a "mental inner-vertigo" and I need to start fighting my way back. This past week has been a reminder that life is very short. I need to take every opportunity I have to enjoy what I am doing. Colorado will happen....I don't think I will participate in organized races, but I will get out there and let myself just explore. Until then I will use the time I have here to prepare. I don't know how many winter trail races I will do. I don't know how much time I have to give this friggin ankle to heal.
Wait...umm....how many snakes are out in Colorado? *random brain fart*
As you can see...I don't know a lot right now. But I do know one thing...when I feel uneasy I tend to change myself.,..it brings the control back to my life. No....not another tattoo (I only have one :) ) or piercing (only in the ears people!)....but I did chop about 9 inches off my hair. It was weighing me down. I was pulling it back all the time...."holding it back" and it was time to let it be free. My curls are back people....my curls are back! And like my curls...I need to make my way back to the trails :)
It is funny...when I was younger...camping was a Holiday Inn....now....I need the outdoors. I now understand why my father has spent his life defending the environment. I now know what he feels when he is out there and why it is so important. It is a part of all of us...we just have to find it in ourselves. If we just let ourselves listen it will talk to us. It will welcome us...and if we fail to visit regularly it will call us and remind us! Next time you are outside...stop....close your eyes and breathe in as long as you can. Hold it in. Feel your lungs...feel your body respond to nature. It is amazing.