Sunday, August 23, 2020

Optimism Supernova Engaged

Griaß di, meine Lieben! 

(translation - "good day, my loves!", in our local Tyrol mountain dialect)

I hope this finds you all well, with hearts full of hope that cast spontaneous smiles across your face like comets. I know it is a challenge to be an optimist these days, but you really should be. Gratitude is our superpower! And when faced with the #CoronaTrumpBlackLivesMatterHomeSchoolingForeverZoomIsMyNewOfficeScrewMasksAllRacesCancelled* reality that is today, we should all be ready to full on supernova right now. Collect that energy, meine Lieben, your time is coming! (early November, Americans...don't forget to vote!)

Personally, I am feeling...well, I think "healed" is the right word. Not due to an athletic injury, per se, but more of an overuse injury of the professional kind. You may have heard of it (or unfortunately have experienced it) as "burnout". For me, apparently, that is ~40 consecutive 15+ hour workdays of semi-controlled chaos, with some home schooling and global pandemic to caramelize what little energy is left. It only stopped when my family intervened to tell me you haven't stepped outside in more than a week. What? A week? Me, the guy who fuels up on dirt and mountains? How does this happen?!?

Many reasons. But in retrospect, nearly all self-inflicted. Perhaps it's that Little Engine That Could voice that all of ultrarunners nuture, now looking for outlets in a raceless world. When respected workmates ask for help, it is hard to say no, even when your cup is spilling over like Niagara Falls. And one should never let a good crisis go to waste (as I often say as a manager) and we had plenty of fuel for that fire. Put them together and life balance starts looking less like a scale, and more like a Trebuchet catapult. Luckily I'm living in Europe, where it is strange NOT to take two weeks of vacation in August. When I finally set the "out of office" reply, it felt like staggering across the finish line in a deep fog of exhaustion, swearing it can't really be the end/it's just a mirage/we must keep going, even after you have crossed its pearly gates. 

A few days of sleep, then the family was ready to break out of our castle (dungeon?). It's still tricky to travel beyond Austria and a few neighbouring countries, but Austria remains novel for us, so we were content with a few nights in the big city (Vienna), some local exploring, and a week in the mountains (Kitzbühel). I had no race to train for, given the recent cancellation of the rescheduled Ironman Austria (my last Summer holdout!). But in the Alps, people of all ages are hiking, running, and cycling every day for hours, with a few beer and food stops along the way. It's just how they roll, and a good reminder that one doesn't need a race to smile in the sun and enjoy the splendor. 

I'm back now, recharged and ready. I've blocked out my mornings once more, selfishly claiming back precious daily time in my local mountains. As fate would have it, the adidas Innsbruck Alpine Trailrunning Festival has announced it is still "a go" for September 13th, which means the marathon distance can also count as my virtual Boston Marathon run. Wait...a trail marathon to keep my Boston streak fitting is that?!? I never saw that that coming. What a great story to be captured! 

In my limited (and self-serving) understanding of supernovas, they occur when there is a sudden re-ignition of nuclear fission at the core, caused by excess gravity applied on a star that is losing fuel. Sounds familiar!


Cheers all! - SD

* For the record, this very Germanesque hashtag officially started here. ;-)

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