On my first Racing The Planet attempt I was pretty green. No harm in admitting it – you can’t know what you don’t and hopefully I know a little better now. For example, one of the ‘things’ I didn’t know about was Perpetuem. Scratch that, Greg had tried to introduce me, but I think my exact words were, “ick, that’s gross”. And it kinda is, until you learn to love it like Pavlov’s dog.
What is Perpetuem? It’s a sustained energy, complete nutrition powder that you mix with water for endurance events when you need a balanced source of calories flowing through your system – fat, carbs, protein all the good stuff in one magic powder.
I finally came around to Perp at the North Face 50 Miler in San Fran. At two of the aid stations I made a tall, cold bottle of the stuff and felt a calm of hydration and strong energy come over me. I remember the next 10 miles or so after each bottle being amazing. I messaged my friend and ultrarunning super-vet Howard after the race and told him I now had a ‘love affair with Perpetuem’. He laughed and told me to take it easy….my love affair was sure to go sour when the temps were 110 and I was chocking down the hot, thick, cakey liquid.
Fast forward to my last real training run for Jordan. In 3 days, we did 20m-30m-20m. The 30m day was about 8 or 9,000 elevation gain. Not being a numbers junkie, I honestly can’t remember. That whole day I was feeling sluggish and generally in kind of a funk. Nothing seemed to come easily and I started racking my brain – had a I under-trained, had I over-trained, did I suck? No Jenn, it’s just another day on the mountain and they are not always pure bliss. About 6 hours in and tired and drained from the beating sun (what can I say, us WA state residents are whimps) we came upon a summit that was still covered in snow. George was low on water and it only took a second for us to start scraping off the dirty snow and getting to the pristine, white beauty underneath. Handfuls of cold, clean snow – we dug in. Snow in the mouth, snow in our flasks, and melting snow shaken (not stirred) with Perpetuem. We made Perpetuem snow-cones on the top of the mountain on a random Monday afternoon in April.
We joked, we laughed, we made plans to bring up strawberry syrup and make real Hawaiian snow-cones. All frustration was forgotten and the day was alive – over a seemingly dirty handful of snow. Such a tiny thing in life can help you turn a corner.
It reminded me of the last time I was in Australia and the days were 120 degrees with suffocating humidity and not a leaf for shade. Unbearable is the only word for that kind of heat. And yet bear it we did….but when an insignificant breeze would happen to blow past we would savor it and feel every touch of the wind on our skin. A breeze that we wouldn’t have noticed under normal circumstances became a gift straight from God in the outback.
The world is full of humble miracles just waiting to be appreciated. It is always the little things that take hold of my heart and so rarely the big ones. As I head out for Jordan where tough moments are inevitable – I know I will need to be open and waiting to receive that faint breeze, to re-live that memory of snow-cones in the Issaquah Alps, and of course to enjoy my precious daily servings of Perpetuem.