Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Circus is in Town

I was halfway up the Flying Monkey mesa, my heart was beating in my ears when suddenly it was silenced and all I could hear were the monkeys. The chatter was incessant, blocking out all other sounds.  The monkeys were trying to take over with their antics and that is when it hit me. It is my circus and these are my monkeys!

I decided on a whim to enter a 100km race in Zion.  On the drive down to southern Utah to spend spring break playing and trail running I realized that the race fell at the end of our break. I was there, the race was happening, completely logical. I'm not going to lie, it has been a rough couple of years with an injury that took it's toll physically and emotionally. It felt like it was behind me BUT it had plagued the races I attempted to partake in last year and was therefore never far from my mind. The monkey on my back was getting heavy and I needed to shed it. What better way than to jump into a 100km at the end of a solid two week training block? 

That is how I found myself on the Flying Monkey mesa at the beginning of a 100km foot race. Instead of a single monkey on my back I found out he had invited the whole circus worth of monkeys and we were going to be spending a long day together. They were all talking at once..... 'that person in front is gapping you', 'sure you feel good now, but now is early', 'what the fuck are you thinking, this is a 100km and you've been in winter for months', 'you know this climb, be patient, when it kicks up you'll gain back', 'don't go too fast, you aren't ready for this' and on and on and on and on they nattered. I devised a plan.

If I was going to be in this thing, and this traveling circus was going to be following me, I needed to be in charge. These monkeys were under my big top and I was going to be their ring master. Instead of misbehaving, they were going to be busy doing acrobatics all day long. Each one had a job to do to make the act successful. They each had a corner of the ring to perform their trick for the whole act to come together. When one would get out of line, I the ringmaster would simple crack my whip towards them to keep them in line. As in any act when things fall into place the silence and peace settle in and the magic happens.

The magic in this case was as the race went on, and I didn't become hobbled or experience pain I felt the monkey on my back loosening his grip. I felt him fall off when I was descending the Goose Bump. Previously this descent scared me and I was VERY cautious and slow coming down it. What a difference 3 years can make. This time I flew off and was loving it, the monkey couldn't hold on. I can only hope he didn't hop on anyones else's back as they came down the bump.

The monkeys and I haven't perfected our act yet. There are times they still get unruly and I have difficulty reigning them in. I don't always have control of them but I am learning a few tricks to keep them from taking over the big top. The physical training and racing is one aspect but unless I can become a master of my mind circus, the monkeys will run the show. 

'Just because you got the monkey off your back doesn't mean the circus has left town'
George Carlin