I took two weeks off from running when I returned home to New Jersey. My body was pretty beaten up, but my spirits were high after accomplishing such an epic adventure. I was emotional. I couldn't stop telling my wife, Alison, that I loved her. I was tearing up at reading all of the posts and messages on Facebook. I had people telling me they were inspired to sign up for a race, or start running after following all of the updates from Vermont. I was overwhelmed and humbled. I had never felt so shy and content in my life. Food tasted better. Crashing on the couch at night and watching TV was exciting. Going for a walk with Alison was bliss. But then the madness started.
My sleep patterns were off. I was falling asleep in the middle of the day while studying for my CPT exam. I was jumping awake at 2am. My legs were spasming at random times throughout the night. During the day, everything seemed louder: car horns, telephones ringing, doors slamming, people talking. I wanted to put ear plugs in. I became so irritable: grinding my teeth at traffic lights. Snapping at people who were asking me harmless questions. Scoffing openly at the woman in the cafe, complaining that her latte was not prepared correctly. Driving felt foreign and I couldn't breathe being enclosed behind the steering wheel. I felt like everything was closing in on me. It was claustrophobic. There was too much noise, movement, talking. I wanted to scream. I still want to scream.
I desperately wanted to go back to the Green Mountains. It was peaceful and quiet. No car horns or cell phones going off. No traffic lights telling me when I could move. From what I remember, the porcupines weren't complaining about the preparation of their lattes. They just wanted to get out of my way and do what porcupines do...and I have no idea what they do.
It was simple in the mountains. I had what I needed and nothing more. A philosophy which my friend Willy practices, every second of his wonderful life: live simply. From him, I want to incorporate that way of life into mine. I have no problem with the usual responsibilities; bills, appointments, family functions and the like. However, running 460 miles taught me that I can certainly do without many things in my life and there are things that I simply can't tolerate anymore. Oh Willy, you were so right! The mountains are calling my name, and for now, that is the only noise I want to hear.