Registering to race was huge. I started and finished with a smile as big as the Himalayas yet I was not finished with Nepal.

The month of October ended with a milestone day in terms of my recovery. Thankful to have completed my first athletic competition since August 2014 and my first ultramarathon ever.

Registering in the Annapurna 100 (50 km; + 3500 m elevation) was a huge step that I  would not have believed a year ago when I was limited to 30 minute walks a few times/week with a therapist and his dog. I have extremely high social anxiety since my accident. Groups and public places where I cannot see people outside my small visual range tend me leave me tense and insecure. I feel uneasy with the thought of even running in a group, nevermind racing on rocky, Himalayan trails.

Being mindful that I was still in Denver this time last year, finishing the race was the next target. Starting in the dark, knowing there would be 45 minutes of headlamps which play havoc with my limited vision, a slew of eager runners and tricky rocky terrain before daylight appeared, I felt if  I could stay on my feet  until daybreak the rest of the day would be manageable. I have a long way to go with my speed specifically on downhill technical terrain. Though no training program or long term planning specifically for the race, I have had hundreds of kms, tens of thousands of meters of elevation gain and hours on foot in recent months; knowing it would be a long day was not a worry.  As always I like the challenge of uphill running so, as such, the  “hills” of the Himalayan race course were a challenge that I was excited about. I most sincerely feel that nothing can be as challenging as what I went through following my Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and the consequential effects with my vision, appetite etc..

Thankful I took the leap, registered, started, finished…the result on the stats page was a most welcome surprise.  Finish I did, with the biggest smile in years however felt I was not finished with Nepal.  After a short period of intensive and emotional contemplation, I decided to extend my stay in Nepal rather than moving on to the south Pacific. The more time I am in the mountains, the more I feel a sense of belonging.

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    • mountainsofmymind says:

      Thanks so much Nadine! Though certainly an intriguing event, Marathon des Sables is not on my radar for this chapter. I will keep adding my adventures to the blog – humbled and thankful to know you are reading.