Back in the Alps. I made sure I packed all my running gear just like I packed all my doubts. My running doubts. My post stress fracture doubts. All the confidence doubts. Quite a heavy bag to carry.
Come 5pm and here I am, struggling up some uphill yet again. But this time I’m not running away from anything. I’m not being scared. I don’t care if I’m slower than I used to be. Or if I’m spot on. I’m not wondering if I can. Instead I’m doing it. No one will judge my abilities, because I don’t judge myself anymore. Because I’m here. Doing what I love most. On my own. Running. On top of a mountain. Where I belong.
I love to be alone in the mountains. Relying on my own strengths, on my own decision, totally responsible for every single step I take. Every risk I take. Coming up with a plan. And changing that plan on the go. Looking for switchbacks, but not taking them in the end. Reaching the destination with the last rays of suns. Looking around, enjoying the peace and the complete silence around me. Solitude and freedom. As far as you can see. As far as you can hear. Bitten by reality I realize it would be better to get my ass down before it gets pitch dark. In like 20-30mins. Unless I fly or fall, I won’t make it without head torch. But I do love the wilderness of running through the forest into the night. When every step matters and you don’t see further than few metres. And then the flow stops. I look around and I am so alone. Best feeling ever!
Day 2. In the middle of nowhere, yet again. Fast and light. Leave nothing but footprins. Legs are knackered. Heart is happy. Never ending downhill. But as I’m flying on my way down, there is still one doubt left. That one little fear that is following me like unwanted shadow.
Day 3. Come Sunday and I’m keen to over train yet again. Woke up at 7 am and ready to climb to Lac Blanc because why not. But as I’m sat on the bed sipping my coffee and ready to rock, the very rare smart version of me takes over. Back to bed. Two more hours of sleep and small short flat run. Which somehow ends up with climbing to 2100m and running 14k. Pack the bag and leave.
Monday. Office desk in London. Quite tired. Quite worn out. Everything hurts. But the leg doesn’t. The little hairline fracture that shaped me as runner within last 4 months better than all the races in last 4 years. How something so small can have such a huge impact?
And you know what? Screw it. Screw the last doubt. I may be wrong. But for once I rather be wrong than be scared.
Here, I said it. I’m back. Back to running. Back to where I stopped on 14th of June. Bit smarter. Bit more cautious. Bit more boring. Bit more me. Bit less amazing. Bit more ok. And totally loving it!