Letter of Reflection   


Dear Dr. Horton,
I hope this finds you well and able to catch your breath after having put on a fantastic race.
Once again, thank you for having me be a part of Hellgate.
Greg and I spent a good deal of time debriefing ourselves on Sunday after the race.  In fact, we spent (literally) all morning, the car ride home, and also over dinner, talking about it.  It was fascinating to me how my perspective changed in such a short amount of time. 
I went from not wanting to run mountainous ultras any longer, to anxiously anticipating my next race.  I ran Badwater this past summer, and truth be told, I had to dig deeper both emotionally and physically to finish Hellgate.  I wasn't certain I would finish it.  And I haven't had that uncertainty in any of my previous races.  I wanted to quit.  I convinced myself I had nothing left to prove after running a few hundreds, various ultras, and Badwater this year.  I experienced loneliness that I have never felt before.
It took a few hours for me to begin to understand why Hellgate is so special.  I ended up telling Greg that my life over those 48 hours turned out to be "life as I hoped it would be."  We had such fun on the ride down, seeing friends at the race itself and meeting new people, the challenge of the race itself, and the afterwards. I said that I felt an unprecedented feeling of being satiated.  I realized that for me, things have to be THAT tough in order to feel that gratifying accomplishment.
I also learned quite a bit about love.  And while that sounds dramatic--its not.  I was able to say things to him that I previously didn't have the courage or feel the right time was upon me to say them.  And I'm glad another day didn't go by.  Hellgate brought us closer together in so many ways.
In addition, the welcome, smile and hug I received at the finish line was fantastic.  Thank you for waiting for me to finish...even after 17 hours and 17 minutes.  It is with pride that I wore the race t-shirt today.  Most of my shirts end up in a box.  This one won't.
So--who knows if I'll be a part of Hellgate again ;)  But I can say with certainty that I am a different person after running it.  And have changed for the better.  Learned a  good deal.  And I feel at peace. 
I hope you have WONDERFUL holidays and look forward to seeing you again at a race--whether it be as a runner or a volunteer.
With warm regards,
Kira Matukaitis

"I've got a mountain to climb before I get over this hill, I've got the world to unwind before I ever sit still.  There's a thing called peace of mind that I've never known, I've got a long way to get before I get back home..."--Bob Schneider