I didn't want to wake up last sunday. I was exhausted. My face hurt from a mix of sun and wind burn. I had my worst headache in memory. And I didn't even do the race. As i lay there in bed, my chest about to be jumped on by my three year old, i kinda wished i had. END-AR stands for Extreme North Dakota Adventre Race. during the inaugural event in 2007 (planned by, among others, my twin brother) i fielded a coed team of 3 and, as navigator (and the only experienced racer), led them to victory in our category.
Jason left North Dakota shortly after the race went off, promising to return the following year to host it again. Promises being what they are, this never happened (he got too busy). For a while, as 2009 dates were batted around and then rejected, it seemed like it never would. Then a friend who was involved in the planning the first time around said we should just organize the race with out jason (my brother) and asked if i could help.
3 months and somewhere around 200 hours later, on September 26th at 8am, 19 teams started the race. (here is an article in the local paper)
This was my first experience directing a race. It was far more involved and intense than i had imagined. It was always on my mind. The details and to-do lists kept me awake until at least 2 am every night the three weeks prior to the event. It was consuming. My workouts suffered. My family suffered. My schoolwork and research all but vanished. I was more continously stressed than i can ever remember being.
But it was awesome, and i'll probably do it (or at least some part of it) again. My favorite element was designing the course - using my experience and love of suffering and intimate knowledge (at least to some extent) of true human potential (ie what we can really do instead of what we think we can do) to put teams through hell and in touch with, many for the first time, their real capabilities. It was more than inspiring - it was captivating.
But much like the intense and consuming musical theater events of my highschool days - it is over too fast. My brother and I used to refer to the phenomenon as 'post play depression' - pretty much the same thing as what athletes refer to as post race depression. I'm no stranger to this, and know the greater the input the greater the effect (10 day adventure races take weeks to psychologically recover from). I just wasn't expecting it to be more pronounced behind the scenes than it would have been had i actually participated in the race - but now it seems obvious that this would be the case.
As for now, i'm looking very much forward to getting my life back together and taking the next four weeks to get 'back in shape' for a 60+ km trail 'run' of the Mantario trail in Manitoba, Canada, tentatively scheduled for the 24th of October.