So I finished the race, sat down, and had a cookie.
It was soft, maybe a little warm from the sun and oh-my-god yummy. Every bite was another slice of perfection. I remember closing my eyes and thinking of how this moment encapsulated one of the key joys of running- the stopping, and pure simple indulgence of a well earned treat at the end of a long, difficult slog.
One of my friends asked "are you okay?' while I was eating the cookie, and I replied with something like "I'm just enjoying the cookie." When I think I should have said: "I'm just enjoying the hell out of this cookie." because I was. And I think in that moment each of the 18 hours I spent out on the trail was rewarded but the simple bliss of a single cookie, of sitting down and resting, of the contentment of finishing another race and not taking it for granted.
And that is one of the many reasons I run.
It was a good race, with only a fraction of the pain I experienced doing the 100 mile in 2013. The weather was even better, and I ran with good company for the entire time. My feet hurt, but that was the only real discomfort. I stopped being able to drink the water out on the course (similar to the Hungerford issue last year) about 30 miles in for whatever reason, so I drank sprite instead. No biggie.
I got to share stories and encourage people on and I found the the night is not half so difficult when there's good conversation. And the stars were lovely.
But there's a bit of sadness, too; a very real sense that I may never enjoy a cookie quite so much as I have already, that my 2015 Woodstock cookie experience is as good as it gets. Which is kind of a scary thing.
But I digress. It was a great run, and an excellent way to end the run, and I am content. Though I do hold out hope for an even better cookie experience, some day.