On paper, one would think it'd be easy to transition from a season of ultramarathons to long distance hiking.
After my fourth ultramarathon this spring semester (three of which I won), I was so burned out I didn't run for a month. I didn't eat healthy either. In the last few weeks of the school year, I finally started training again, half-heartedly. I didn't eat any healthier. In a month and a half, I gained 9 kg (20 lbs), or about 16% of my body weight. That's almost hard to do on purpose.
Even so, when I "half-heartedly" went for a training run, it was usually about 18 km (11 miles). Not many people can do that on any given day, especially on a garbage diet. Maybe I was more prepared than I thought. It's hard to go from ultramarathon champion to completely out-of-shape in only a month.
The past two school years have been emotionally draining, and after putting everything I had into those races, there was a major emotional letdown afterward, similar to after a big holiday. Especially since nothing came out of them. How many races do I have to win before a sponsor notices? How good do I have to be at running before my school sees value in having me coach cross country? Our assistant cross country coach decided to leave our school at the end of this year, and no one bothered to have a conversation about the possibility of me assuming the role. I've made my interest clear multiple times and have only ever gotten a "maybe".
By the end of the spring semester, I was clearly exhibiting symptoms of depression. Huge variance in sleeping patterns, a garbage diet, no real motivation to do anything at all. Some evenings, I found myself counting the hours until bed, only to stay up late doing nothing. I meant to write at least a few journals leading up to the hike, but never did. I'm writing this one from the trail.
Clearly, it was time to get away from everything and disappear into the woods. Even after one of the worst days of hiking I've ever had, followed by traversing a dangerous snow field, I'm already in a better mood and starting to feel like my old self again. I missed being Coyote. I expect this hike will be especially therapeutic, and by that I mean more than normal.
Special thanks to Daron, Athan, Barbara, Brian, and Heather. I owe you all a solid.
from PCT North