Note to Self: Vacations Are Supposed to Be Relaxing! (Weeks 1 & 2)

Okay, okay, if you know me, you’re probably saying something along the lines of “but you don’t even know how to take a ‘real’ vacation!” to which I say, you’re right. (And wrong at the same time.) My time off work started February 26 and I have yet to take a “really” vacation-y day.

But what did I do these past two weeks if not vacationing? Well… in theory, it was a vacation. According to one of the possible definitions of that word, I was on a vacation, as I wasn’t theoretically at work. That being said… I was at ‘work’ for most of it, and although it was voluntary, I wouldn’t call it exactly leisurely.

I also decided that running an ultramarathon would make for a great vacation activity because that’s, you know, very relaxing. (This was sarcasm by the way. Surprising, I know.)

VACATION
noun
NORTH AMERICAN, an extended period of leisure and recreation, especially one spent away from home or in traveling.

All in all, as of writing this, I’ve done what seems like more work during my vacation than when I was actually working. I can’t complain tho; yes, it was totally exhausting but also absolutely fantastic.

It went something like this:

  • take on an extra day of actual work to help out the family
  • run an ultrmarathon (as we’ve already established, ultrmarathons are a very relaxing affair)
  • volunteer for several days in Point Reyes (this included but was not limited to cleaning out horse pastures, standing in 39mph winds next to a whale corpse, and biking up a terrible hill at the end of each exhausting day to get back to where I was staying)
  • course-mark for Inside Trail (this included marking a race course with *flags only* because the park didn’t want us to use ribbons, which resulted in terrible blisters and me getting stuck out there way after dark because it took about two times longer than tying ribbons would)
  • volunteer the very next day at the race (which equaled to getting up at 2:30am after we managed to finally turn in at midning and included but wasn’t limited to lugging heavy stuff from one place to another, holding the tent down in the wind, and working late into the night again)

If this sounds miserable… well, it does. But it wasn’t, not really. Because as not-relaxing as it was, it was also incredibly rewarding. You see, the trail/ultra running community is simply wonderful. Point Reyes is like my second home. Inside Trail is like a family to me.

Therefore, that list could also go something like this:

  • run an ultramarathon (as we’ve just established, the people there are some of the best I’ve ever met, and they were this time, too—plus I got to finish by running through the arch directly into the arms of my friend)
  • volunteer for several days in Point Reyes (although windy, it was still gorgeous, and I got to see some of my favourite places, work with the horses at the Morgan Horse Ranch, and meet and hang out with other rangers, docents, and volunteers)
  • course-mark for Inside Trail (“see ya sucker” is what I said to the RD when we were leaving to go marking, “it’s gonna be with an ‘f’ when you come back” was his answer, and we all collectively cursed through text messages at the day’s job, but oh boy, was it worth it)
  • volunteer the very next day at the race (what can I say, this is always incredible—having the runners come through the aid station, serve them hot soup and help them get back on their legs… there’s no better thing in the world, plus I got to spend the day with people that have become my family, in a place where I belong… what more could I ask for?)

I like this second version of the list, I like it a lot. And even though it really wasn’t a vacation, even though it was very far from relaxing, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Yes, vacations might be supposed to be relaxing. Yes, mine hasn’t been. But it was oh-so-meaningful I can’t help but consider it the best one I could have had so far.

See you next week, if I make it here 🙂
Love,
—P

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