today I ran my twenty-fifth solo, unsupported mountain ultra. this one, as so many before, took place on my favorite running mountain in the whole world.
since last month's full moon ultra on Mount Rainier failed to be interpreted as a physiologic event I decided to stack some more stimulus on top of it. I began mercifully, doling out care and patience as liberally as I would to my child. then something wonderful happened: my body stopped needing it. I flowed past the places where I usually pause to stretch or pee rolling up and over hills with the hopeless force of a loaded train. my mind did very little save for consciously telling tight muscles to relax or cuing me to breathe in a way that would calm my nervous system. it seemed there was no amount of lactic acid my blood cloud not transport, my liver process, and my breath expel.
the the pain of the back-to-back ultras stacked tight against my skin providing my ego a thin opening to speak. it told me of my unworthiness, pleaded with me to bail early, then it stopped after only a couple feeble attempts. hello, mile twenty ghouls.
then stumps began to animate, walking their crumbly hulking forms around the open understory near the trail faceless ents trying to pass for human. enchanted weasels darted back and forth across the path keeping just inside the shadows. in the luminous darkness of the lee side of the mountain I observed near-translucent greenish slugs and their quick beetle friends (who wore a new spectrum of black). long-lost holly sisters combed my wild curls as they lapped at my bra strap. my posse of fern friends couldn't contain their excitement and leapt into my way to exchange high fives.
I cawwed hopefully into the voiceless expanse and Raven cawwed back. we spoke for ten minutes or more, he matching my timbre and me repeating the sound in numbers equaling his calls. when the conversation didn't reach a logical end and I grew cold I rose and continued. a minute farther down the trail a four-point blacktail leapt magnificently perpendicular to my direction of travel. he's the biggest deer I've seen on my home hill in over a thousand runs.
yet again I am humbled by a mountain with whom I am so intimately familiar. she has many more lessons to teach as long as I continue to listen to her.