Dirt in your skirt blog

Return to the Familiar

Posted on September 18, 2012 by Margaret Schlachter


That familiar path, that comforting trail, the place you go to when life just needs some working out in your head. For me that place has been the mountains for the past three years. I have worked, played, loved, hated, longed and lost all on the mountain. Here we are days away from another race this time it’s on my mountain.

Thirteen months ago I walked into the first Spartan Beast ever it was held on Killington Mountain in Vermont my home for the past three plus years. My window for two years looked out on the mountain each day. I remember stepping up to the starting line standing in the middle of the pack, only to quickly get pushed forward to the front by a friend. At the time feeling 100% out of place and in over my head I took off with the comfort of knowing I was on my mountain.

As this years race is upon us, the stakes are different. This year it’s the World Championships and this year I will be racing for the title along with the best women in the sport. Many have asked my plans and well less than a week out my plans are to race in the first lap, try to finish as high as I can then continue on to finish my second lap and become on of the first Ultra Beast finishers ever. But that is only part of the story.

This race makes a turning point, an end of a chapter, as it is one of my last races and tines on Killington for a while. I have spent countless hours on the mountain and regained or better yet gained a sense of who I am as I pounded my feet on the dirt. Much of this blog up to this point has been around my adventures on the mountain and adventures with the mountain.

Killington and I have a relationship that spans nearly fifteen years since I first came to it for a ski race while still a teenager. I have been a ski racer on the mountain, a ski coach, a telemark skier, a runner, and a hiker. I have enjoyed it’s beauty at all hours of the day, watched the sunset from the peak. The mountain and I survived a hurricane, I still remember running the day before on the mountain feeling something was different. I have been an EMT in the town and worked for the school.

To me the Beast and Ultra Beast at the end of the day aren’t really about the race, sure a podium would be great and a check for the effort. But really this is a culmination of the past couple of years. It’s the last couple pages in the chapter before starting anew. As I step onto the mountain on Saturday morning it will be an emotional day. I can guarantee one thing coming out of this race, I will enjoy and take in all that the mountain is and what it has been for me.