Pre-race musings… and jitters 

I am home from Bhutan and it was amazing!  I always try and keep a travel journal so that my thoughts regarding my trip maintain somewhat coherent.  Enjoy the next installment of my Bhutan series.  
So the race will start tomorrow morning. Snugged up in our tent with the soft rain falling, it feels like the last shred of peace before a week of worry and hard work. I love working these races but I feel like I am on edge until every last runner is safely stepping into the hotel lobby after the last stage. I just fixate on all of the serious medical problems that could pop up. And if and how I could handle them. But I guess I shouldn’t worry so much. I would get myself all worked up before my Hartford shifts but it seems like thinking of what could happen is much worse than dealing with what actually does happen. (For my readers’ reference: Hartford is the small town that I grew up in. Hartford has a hospital with an 8 bed ER where I would be the sole physician for 24 hours at a time. At night, every other doctor would be home in their beds, and so any scary badness of a medical emergency would become my responsibility…. I actually looooooved working there.)
We went to an amazing sight today on the way to the first camp, Punadkha Dzong. A dzong is a distinctive type of fortress architecture found in the Tibetan Buddhist kingdoms of the Himalayas. This particular dzong was surrounded by a small moat. Crossing the bridge gave a very nice transition to entering the grounds – it made me realize that now I was crossing over into something special. Fragrant blossoms rimmed my view of the ornate woodwork of the structure’s roof. We climbed steep stairs to enter into the fortress and were met with the patient determination of an elder monk who was chanting and spinning a prayer wheel. What struck me the most was entering the temple of the fortress complex. It was the hushed quiet one typically experiences in a soaring Catholic church with the addition of monks in crimson robes murmuring on the benches. There was a large Buddha sardonically grinning from high in the center of the shrine with many other golden statues flanking him. I made a clockwise circle around the perimeter of the temple and was struck by the intricate detail of the 100’s of religious statues. But up where the Buddha sat is where I was really overwhelmed with the space. There was a statue standing guard on Buddha’s left that seemed like he was looking right at me. Just seeing all of the jeweled religious artifacts made me overwhelmingly thankful.  I think that you have to step outside of your regular life and into the exotic sometimes to be truly mindful and grateful. Maybe there are people who are just better at that sort of thing on a regular basis in their comfortable old environments, but for me, this is where life really begins to unfurl.  


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