I started thinking about not finishing the 60k last night about two loops into the six loop race. My stomach and intestines turned on me during the first half hour of the run. I spent a lot of energy searching for thick juniper and cactus to duck behind. (Soil enrichment: Check.) My foot ached, my legs felt stiff and heavy, it was late July in southern Texas, and I skewered my toe on a prickly pear cactus spine at one emergency pit stop. Suffice it to say, I wasn’t having much fun and I was dog tired after a 10 day teaching stint. My thoughts ran something like: “I don’t have anything to prove to anyone. I could stop running and no one would care. The plantar fasciitis is an acceptable explanation. Nothing wrong with just running 30k tonight. (That’s a nice dense juniper tree!) I could just run long tomorrow when I’m feeling better.” That last thought was the one that kept me in the race. I actually couldn’t just do the mileage Sunday. Eliot is out of town and I didn’t have a sitter to watch Asa. So after a brief delusion about running 60k in my neighborhood with Asa in the baby jogger, I made peace with Captn Karls’ the Lake. I pushed through the humidity, a bundle of aches and pains on wooden legs, guzzling flattish Coke at the aid stations. And then, after 40k, I felt better. It was as if someone removed a heavy winter trench coat that I’d been jogging in. I felt light and I started really running. And it was fun. I felt like I was flying over the rocks, but I’m sure it was a pretty pedestrian pace. I jumped hard on the timing pad at the finish line to hear that lovely Beeeep. I’m satisfied with how everything played out. It would have been great to end up with a faster time, but it felt like a gift to really run those last 20k. I hope it doesn’t take as long to warm up at Leadville. One of the students from the Wilderness First Responder course in Austin came up and volunteered at the aid station. It was one of the best parts of my night to see her there. I’m very glad I didn’t need her new skills. My co-instructor from the course ran the 30k. It was her first trail run. Her first 30k. Her first night run. She finished in high style. I can’t imagine jumping into something comparable myself. Inspired: Check!