I can't quite settle with the fact that 2015 will not be summed up concisely in ink to be stored in one place forever for all the world to read and understand. I feel I've broken a promise to myself by not doing so, but mostly I feel cheated; I both want and need to remember the year, and really, it's not so complicated.
Why do I feel the need to hold on to and remember this process? Not the race, because that came and went in a day, but the training.
Because it consumed me. For 6 months Twisted Branch was me. I was Twisted Branch. I can think of only one other thing that ever pushed me to this state of being. When I think back I am filled with awe and disgust, appreciation and frustration. I put this one thing above all other things in my life. For 6 months. And I cannot explain why. You can listen to my attempt at doing so here (my portion starts about 34 minutes in), or read about it here, but still I believe there was more to it. I found something out there on the trails, with nothing but my pack and a Timex watch, for hours. I found more than just miles, hills, and wilderness. I was becoming something, and even in the hours that hurt, I loved who I was. I was focused and free. I was intentional and frivolous. Playful and determined. Reverent and wild. I was all the things I want to be on a daily basis but am not. The woods, the trails, the air, the sun, the rush and the struggle, they stripped me down and let me be me. And there I was, raw... and so deeply contented.
That's a hard thing to explain to someone when what they saw was the choice I made to spend 15-20 hours a week running. They saw intense fatigue, ailments from over and misuse, debilitating hunger and plummeting glucose levels, unnecessary focus and stress to stay on schedule.
They saw the time I wasn't spending with them.
When I crossed the finish line, almost to-the-minute of the time I had hoped for and predicted, I had to take a moment to swallow hard and let the realization that it was over flood through me. 6 months of relentlessly pushing my body, my mind, and the boundaries of each day so that I might find myself in this exact moment - in one piece on the other side of the finish line, happy. What I felt: relief. And sadness. Because despite how much I loved it and that I can't think of anything I'd rather do for 13 hours, I knew I wouldn't be doing it again.
I want to see this world by foot. I need to bare my soul in the forest with endless trail in front of me and the rest of my life waiting patiently for my return. I need to separate from the world so I can see and feel and hear my self... or nothing at all.