A white woman with blonde hair looks directly at the camera, crying quietly. She is wearing a white tank top.
(Photo: Andrea Peipe, Cap Photography/Getty)

Why Outdoor Sports Make You Cry

A white woman with blonde hair looks directly at the camera, crying quietly. She is wearing a white tank top.

Spoiler alert: It’s not because you’re a wuss. Adults rarely cry because of pain or physical discomfort, so why do so many of us cry during outdoor sports? It happens to almost everyone, of all genders, including professional athletes like skier Cody Townsend and climber Emily Harrington. Writer and athlete Gloria Liu investigated this phenomenon, which she calls the Sports Cry, to figure out what causes us to get teary out there and whether it helps or hinders us.

This episode is brought to you by NOW, a company that offers more than 900 safe and effective nutritional supplements at a price that feels good. Learn more at nowfoods.com/feelgood.

Podcast Transcript

Editor’s Note: Transcriptions of episodes of the Outside Podcast are created with a mix of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain some grammatical errors or slight deviations from the audio.

Maren Larsen: From Outside Magazine, this is the Outside Podcast.

Gloria Liu: Is there Kleenex in here? I feel like—

Maren: Yes, there is. Hold on. 

Gloria: I'm literally, I'm crying this telling this story made me cry. This is how much of a real life crier I am.

Maren: Yep. It's like, as advertised.

Gloria: On-brand.

Maren: This is the episode where we make Gloria Liu cry.

Gloria: Yeah. What was the question again?

Maren (as narrator): The question that brought freelance journalist and Outside contributing editor Gloria Liu to tears concerned, fittingly, the origin and impact of a phenomenon she calls: the Sports Cry.

Let's start with, defining what a sports cry is.

Gloria: So a friend of mine came up with this term several years ago, and as soon as she said it, I just knew exactly what she was talking about.

A sports cry is pretty much what it sounds like. It's when you cry in the middle of an outdoor adventure. I suppose you could cry in the middle of a traditional ball sport as well. But we are right now using it in the context of mountain sports.

Maren: Okay. All right. So it's not like there's wind in your eyes and they're just like streaming. It's like, you're actually emotional and crying.

Gloria: Yes. But you, those can be, all kinds of emotions, a whole range of emotions. And, it's interesting because my historical experience with sports crying has always been around negative emotions, frankly like frustration, anger, maybe once in a while, fear, anxiety, you know. 

But, when I was talking to people about their sports cries, people brought up positive emotions too.

Maren: Recently, Gloria wrote a story about the Sports Cry for Outside Online. And in talking to other athletes about their experiences with the phenomenon, she found herself reflecting on her own relationship to mid-adventure tears. She's a self-admitted crier in everyday life, and that lachrymose disposition followed her into her athletic pursuits.

Gloria: So I have a long history of crying during sports, that dates all the way back to when I was first learning to mountain bike.

And I would actually say that was probably when I cried the most often was getting into the sport of mountain biking. And you know, I think it's a sport that's kind of uniquely predisposed to a fair amount of discomfort and pain in the early stages of learning. Like, it's aerobically difficult. You often have to climb very hard hills. At least, I was learning in Colorado. you crash a lot, so there's, you know, sometimes physical pain, involved with it. And it's just like a sport that involves a lot of skill that can take time to learn. So I would say that was when probably I would sports cry the most often. And then I had like a really lovely several years, the last several years where I haven't cried very much at all.

Maren: But then, in early 2022, Gloria's tear-free sports streak went out ... with a whimper.

Gloria: I was training for my first back country ski race. It's called the grand traverse. It's a big  hard ski race that goes from Crested Butte, Colorado, to Aspen. It's 40 miles starts at midnight, takes the winners anywhere between 6 to 8 hours to finish and then takes the rest of us mere mortals upwards of 12 hours, 14, 16, 17 hours.

So that was the time range that my partner, Melanie and I were looking into. and that's the other thing about this race is that because it does go through the backcountry and it goes through avalanche terrain. You have to have a partner and you have to race as a team. And one of the race rules is that you and your partner have to keep each other in sight at all times.

So, I'd convinced my friend, Melanie, that she and I should do it together. And neither of us had ever done a backcountry ski race, but we've ridden mountain bikes together quite a bit. We downhill skied together quite a bit. And we were both really compatible speeds in those two sports. So I just went ahead and assumed that we would be very compatible on the skin track too.

And, on the first day of training, that turned out to be not the case.

So, uh, a little bit of background, Melanie used to be like a professional mountain bike racer and she no longer races competitively. but I would say that first day of training, it very quickly became apparent that we were working with different aerobic engines and her natural talent and strength showed through immediately. And, yeah, she was just a lot faster than me on the climbs.

And we were doing, I think, a six hour day with three major climbs and everything was okay on the first climb, but I was like, ‘wow, I'm having to work really hard to keep up.’

By the second climb, she was like putting a fair amount of distance between me and her. And I was kind of starting to like, get a little worried cuz I was thinking, ‘oh wow. You know, there's, there's a bigger difference between us than I thought.’

And then on climb number three, she was just out of sight. 

And this was also the hardest steepest climb. We're several hours into the day. And I started really panicking and thinking like, wow, if this big of a difference, just within, you know, a five, six hour span, like how much is that gonna add up over 14 or 15 hours or something like that.

And, I started getting really mad at myself, like frustrated. I was like, this was my idea? I like convinced Melanie to do this. And now I'm the dead weight, you know? And I was embarrassed too, about that. I was embarrassed to be so much slower. So there was a lot of emotions there. And I'm totally in my own head. I'm also probably pretty tired. And she's been outta sight for a while and like, I finally catch sight of her and she shouted something which I didn't hear.

And then later she told me that she had shouted, ‘are you bonking? And I said, ‘what?’ And then she saw how upset I looked and she shouted good job instead. Anyway, so I, I, I get up to her and then she asks me again, like, Hey, like, are you bonking? You know? And I like open my mouth to reply. And instead of saying anything kind of intelligible, I just start crying.

Like tears are just coming to my face and I'm thinking, oh no, you know, like, I don't wanna cry in front of my friend. but I couldn't help it. I just, everything, all the feelings I had been bottling up on that whole skin up just overflowed.

And, you know, I can't remember what I said. I think I said something like, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. you've been waiting so long. I'm really worried about how much slower I am. And she very kindly looked at me and she said, I think you should eat something. And I did, and indeed the sugar helped and I felt better.

And at the bottom of our final descent, we joked about my meltdown. But, um, yeah, that had been the first time I cried outside in, in several years.

Maren: If at this point you're finding Gloria's experience relatable, you are absolutely not alone. Lots of people Sports Cry. I definitely do. 

The second you mentioned the sports cry. It was exactly like you had said when your friend mentioned it to you, I was like, oh, I know exactly what you're talking about. And I immediately had like, oh, I know what my sports cry was.

I'll spare you the details: all you need to know is that I was out of shape, coming from sea level, doing a high-altitude approach to a climb with my hardcore crusher parents, and I fell behind.

And I was like hungry and tired and super frustrated at being left behind and I just sat down on a rock and sobbed. And I know exactly that feeling when you're just like, somebody's like, are you okay? And you like open your mouth to reply and instead you just like completely melt down.

Gloria: Yeah, exactly. That was my experience of the sports cry as well

One of the things that I was reading in the research about crying was that, you know, we don't often cry unless we feel safe, which is a little paradoxical. Like the emotions that lead to us crying can often be anxiety or frustration or fear, but often in the height of the crisis, we won't break down. But when we feel we're somewhere safe or around a safe person, then we'll cry.

So it's it's interesting that, like, of course, around your parents, you felt comfortable breaking down and, crying

Maren: Yeah. Yeah.

Gloria: The bioscience supports that too, like crying is basically when your body shifts from your parasympathetic nervous system to your sympathetic nervous system, or in other words, it goes from, fight or flight to rest or digest.

And when you're in fight or flight mode, you're like, adrenaline's going right. You're ready to flee. And then like, it's when you shift to your kind of like rest digest mode that you, you like can finally cry.

Maren: Gloria's research also pointed to the emotional explanations behind the sports cry. And, spoiler alert, it's not because you're a wuss.

Gloria: One of the things I learned about crying when I spoke to a researcher named Ad Vingerhoets, he's a psychology professor at the Tilburg University in the Netherlands and he's kind of one of the foremost experts on crying in the world. He wrote a book about it. Uh, it's called Why We Weep.

Kids and babies, they cry because of physical pain and discomfort. Adults rarely cry because of physical pain and discomfort.

Um, and I was almost kind of relieved, honestly, to learn that science because I think that one of the reasons some of us can be embarrassed around crying in the outdoors is because we feel like it indicates that we're weak or, we're wimpy or, you know, like we're not tough. But, knowing that it rarely has that much to do with physical pain or discomfort is actually comforting to me because it's like, ‘oh, like I'm not crying because I can't handle pain or suffering.’

I'm sure many of us have been in situations where we've put ourselves willingly through a fair amount of physical discomfort and have not cried, you know? And he was saying that there's basically, two leading sets of reasons that adults cry, you know, we're not really crying because we're so tired or in so much pain. But, he was saying that the leading reason people cry is, is powerlessness, frustration and helplessness. And then the second leading reason people cry is, pain of separation or loss of loved ones.

It's not like you have a boo boo or something like you're crying for reasons that are very human.

Maren: This squared with Gloria's experience. During her training session for the Grand Traverse ski race with Melanie, she experienced a combination of both categories at once: she was frustrated because she was feeling powerless and falling behind, and she was separated from her training partner. But she wanted to see if other peoples' Sports Cry experiences matched with hers.

Gloria: I wanted to just talk to some other people and make sure I wasn't just basically a crybaby. and so I thought like, well, why don't I speak to some like elite athletes, you know, people who are at the top of the game and who we typically think of as being very tough, very resilient, people with grit, you know?

And so, I spoke to Emily.

Emily Harrington: my name is Emily Harrington. I am a professional rock climber. I've been climbing for 25 years. All over the world.

She's actually been fairly open about crying in the past. She had spoken on a panel about women and climbing and crying. And so she interested me because she seems like she's given a lot of thought to the topic.

And, I wanted to speak to Cody– 

Maren: Cody Townsend, that is, pro skier who you may know from his YouTube series The Fifty, which chronicles his mission to climb and descend fifty iconic North American ski lines.

Gloria: I wanted to speak to Cody because he has a really thoughtful approach to things and he seems so cheerful and optimistic. And he's almost like, like, I didn't know if he had ever cried outside.

So, um, yeah, I thought they were kind of a nice contrast to one another

So, for Emily, the way she put it, which I thought I just really loved, actually. She's like crying is just basically my response to any strong emotion.

Emily: I think my sort of default emotion when I'm frustrated or scared or nervous is to shed some tears. So I've cried multiple times while climbing before climbing, after climbing, even during climbing. especially if I'm working on something that is really meaningful to me or something that's really intimidating or scary. Definitely crying is sort of a part of my process.

Gloria: Whereas for Cody, he seems to only cry at the kind of pinnacle of emotion when he feels very, very strong emotion. And he, it sounds like can probably remember the times that he's cried during ski expeditions but for him, it's like crying happens at kind of the inflection point of his experience. 

Cody: As a perspective, like I'm not much of a crier in general and it's not because of any sort of like, Gender norm or anything like that. Like in my family, my mom's the, the non crier and my dad's the crier. and I would actually say that I'm my own family too. my wife's a little more of a hard ass than I am, but I, I don't necessarily cry too often,

Maren: Gloria's suspicions about Emily and Cody were right: they are very different types of sports criers. To explain those differences, let's look at their experiences using the two categories that crying researcher Ad Vingerhoets outlined: we'll call them the frustration cry, which includes feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness, and the separation cry. The former is one that Emily Harrington knows well. And while she was attempting to be the first woman to free climb the Golden Gate route of Yosemite's El Capitan in a day, she did it a lot.

Emily: Yeah, I cried all the time on that. Throughout the process. Like, it was just such a roller coaster. And there was a lot of times where I felt like it was never, never gonna come together for me or kind of like, why am I up here? Why am I doing this? I don't even like this anymore.

It's the same process anyone goes through when they're trying to do something monumental for them. And there were a lot of tears involved.

Maren: But while Emily's tears are a result of her frustration, for her they don't represent powerlessness or helplessness. They're a part of the process. And, they're a sign that she's growing.

Emily: I guess tears for me represent that discomfort and that pushing my limits constantly. Constantly trying to figure out where my potential is. They're kind of the result of me always taking on big challenges, taking on things that seem impossible at first, putting myself out there, and being open to failure. And so I think for me, the tears are more a representation of me constantly being in that uncomfortable space, constantly trying to see how much I'm capable of. And naturally that space is a source of a lot of growth and a lot of learning because there's a lot of failure involved. And I think that as humans, we should fail more and we should be proud of that. Because those are the only times we learn.

Maren: On the other hand, one of Cody's most memorable sports cries falls into the second category: the separation cry.

Cody: It was in 2011. And it was the first time I blew my knee skiing, which always felt like kind of an inevitable thing that's going to happen in your ski career. And somehow I managed to escape that until I was about 28 years old. 

And, it was a near fatal fall, like I was jumping. It was like an 80 to a hundred foot cliff and I went off in the wrong direction with the wrong speed and I landed on rocks. It was like a really insane moment, like time froze and yeah, I just had this feeling like, wow, I'm about to die right now. I'm landing on rocks from like 80 feet up with speed coming into this cliff.

So, um, managed to survive. Um, Kind of came to and I had so much adrenaline running through my body that I immediately was like, I'm fine. I'm fine. I'm good. And then a couple minutes later, I realized like, no, my knee is really messed up. Like it is in a really bad place. I can't bend it. It hurts like hell.

And I had to focus and really get just down to the helicopter to get out of there. So I, uh, it's just skied on one ski, self-rescued myself about, I was almost like two miles and like a few thousand vertical feet to get back down to the helicopter. Uh, got in the helicopter. And then as soon as we took off and they were flying me to the hospital and I was by myself I just started wailing. And I think it was just this, the first time going through a severe injury, a flood of emotions where you felt like you were just about to die and then realizing that one, you're fine. But you know, this could be a career out altering injury. You're flying away from the thing you love most and all your friends that are out there and your job and you are, you are done. You're done not for now, but you're done for the season. And, uh, this could be a year of recovery. And the reality starts setting in and you start crashing hard.

Maren: Sure, there was some frustration and helplessness there, but for Cody, the tears came when the separation from his friends and the sport he's built his life around became palpable. Also note: just like Gloria said, the tears didn't come as a response to the pain of his injury. And they didn't come until he was actually physically safe, and his body was out of fight or flight mode.

Gloria: He said I was flying away from my friends and, and I was like, ‘oh man.’ Like, I think we've all kind of known that feeling where it's like, you get hurt and you're like being separated from your friends, and I think that that was maybe one of the most surprising things for me to realize about why we cry outside is that there's this social element too.

Maren: So, there's the frustration cry, which is often directed internally and is a response to your own limitations. There's the separation cry, when you're feeling the pain of loss most acutely. But then there's also a third kind of sports cry.

Gloria: The researchers I spoke to also made the point that, yeah, we don't just cry because we're sad or angry or frustrated. 

We cry cuz we're happy sometimes too.

And being out in nature and being awed by the natural beauty around us can also make us cry.

Maren: That's coming up after the break


Maren: Humans cry for lots of reasons, in daily life and in sports. For professional skier Cody Townsend, his most memorable Sports Cry took place high on a mountain in Alaska, at a literal peak of his career. We'll call it the joy cry.

Cody: I was climbing and skiing Denali with a few friends. We started at a 14,000 foot camp and we were going for the summit. so it was a huge day and we wanted to ski the Messner Couloir back down to 14 camp. And I'll never forget, like the altitude is starting to hit me, you know, every step I've taken, is like the highest I've ever been in my life. And we got to about 19,000 feet and you kind of come up this ramp that's really mellow. And then you get one of the most beautiful views. And I could kind of feel the altitude effects.

And I just remember. Looking out at this horizon. And I was just so overwhelmed and I just started crying and being like, ‘this is so beautiful.’

And I'll never forget that feeling of literally thinking how gorgeous and amazing of a place this was and just started bawling, crying.

And then I proceeded to cry two more times on the way up. One, because right before we got to the summit, one of the guys' ideas on the trip was to like, call our family and friends.

So we pulled out a sat phone and I left a message for my wife and was just bawling uncontrollably while calling her, which was an interesting voicemail to leave your wife. Like I was trying to frame it as like, everything's fine. It's all good. I'm not crying cuz uh, shit has gone sideways.

And then I had a little couple tears at the summit, so I would say that was a bit, uh, altitude induced. But it also felt really awesome and it felt really natural. It felt amazing to look at a view that you think is so beautiful and start crying because of the beauty.

Maren: One of the big questions that writer Gloria Liu had about all the kinds of sports crying we do is whether they’re actually helping us in what we're doing. Does crying boost performance, or does it slow us down? Is it useful? Part of the answer has to do with who's there when we're crying, and how they respond.

Gloria: I think the reality is that the utility really depends on how it makes you feel afterwards.

And that was something researchers talked about quite a bit, actually, when I was reading about it. And we do have this popular idea that crying is cathartic. as Emily said, but in one study, they found that 50% of people who cried felt better after they cried. And 10% of people said they felt worse. 

And really whether you feel better or worse is all about how the people around you react. And if people are supportive, then crying can feel better. If people react with shame or disgust or disapproval, then you'll feel worse and crying will thus be counterproductive.

Maren: And because crying is deeply linked to the comedown after an adrenaline response, it can also be counterproductive if it happens at the wrong time, taking you out of fight or flight mode too early.

Gloria: You don't really wanna go into rest or digest mode when you're trying to figure out how to get off the mountain in the middle of a storm.

Like Cody talked about one in particular where they had to get off a really sketchy, avalanche path where he wanted to cry. 

Cody: When we were on the side of Mount Saint Elias last year and we were skiing down the lower half of the mountain and it got really warm. And the mountain started coming down in the form of massive, gigantic avalanches. And we were square in the path of a huge slide path and we skied to a terminal cliff and we had to figure our way out of there. I remember having that feeling of like, you know, you could just sit here and bawl right now, but ultimately you gotta focus and get your shit together, if you wanna survive and get outta here. And so it wasn't, I, I never actually got to crying, but man, like if it wasn't such a gnarly situation, I definitely would've been just like full on bawling, cuz you're just like, dude, this is, this is too close to the edge.

Gloria: That's a situation where a sports cry can be a liability and you should probably try to either cry very quickly and get it over with, and then move on or try to take emotions out of the equation as much as you can in that moment and just make smart, rational decisions.

Maren: In other words: in life or death situations, it's probably best to bottle up your tears. The good news is that your body knows this, and its adrenaline response is working to keep your emotions at bay until it's safe to process them. And once it is safe, Gloria says, you should let the tears flow, because humans cry for a very good reason.

Gloria: Researchers theorize that we evolved the ability to cry as a way to connect with one another and ask for help, basically. And, when Cody was up there, you know, on Denali and he was crying because of the beauty of the view, he described feeling like he was with people and they were all emotional too. And he felt like it was this shared experience, you know? And, the fact that he was so outward with his emotions, like it didn't cut him off from them. And in fact, it just made them feel more bonded to one another.

Maren: Crying is, at its core, a tool of social bonding. And this is why Gloria thinks it's so important to remove any shameful stigma that the sports cry may hold. In some communities, this is already happening. 

Gloria: When I first started exploring this subject, I assumed there was a stigma around crying in, out in the outdoors. And I think that was based on how I felt when I cried, which was embarrassed. 

When I asked Cody about that, he didn't think that there was a stigma around crying. He thinks that, you know, especially around younger mountaineers, there's a culture that's more open to expressing your emotions outwardly, grieving outwardly. And he was like, you know, maybe in the old guard, there was more of that kind of culture of toughness and stoicism. But I don't, I don't see that among my peers.

Cody: I think in mountain sports in general, maybe there's this feeling of like, Being a hard man. 

It's actually something I've realized I've witnessed that when I'm with older generation people in the mountains, they're definitely a different, a generation gap in the way that I, you know, hear the saying, like drink concrete and harden the fuck up kind of stuff. You hear it from older guys than you do from the younger guys.

And I think from my generation, younger generations are a little bit more welcoming to floods of emotion and not as judgmental as maybe in the past. 

Gloria: But when I spoke to Emily, she told me that she yeah. Did feel like when she used to cry, especially when she was younger, she would also feel embarrassed or ashamed. And, and for her, it was a gender thing. 

And, you know, she started climbing when she was 10. Climbing is still, I think, a pretty male dominated sport. And, she felt like she really associated crying as like this distinctive female trait.

I remember she said, whenever I cried, I was just this weak little girl.

And, I really related with that. And I do think that it, tears, come with different baggage for men and women in the outdoors because gender comes with different baggage in the outdoors. And I think that, you know, as much as we have progressed as an outdoor culture, we still have, you know, a culture that, you know, for a lot of practical reasons. 

But also for a lot of, you know, social reasons that are related to gender that are a little regressive, like we still prize toughness, we prize masculinity. And we prize stoicism maybe more in the form of positivity, you know, like I'm fine. This doesn't hurt. Oh, this is type two fun. You kinda laugh it off. And crying kind of flies in the face of that. andI think we do associate tears with femininity. And so like, it can be one of those traits. I think that we can see as a liability in a male dominated culture.

Maren: Emily agrees. But she's determined to change that liability into an asset.

Emily: I think that more acceptance of it actually gives it less power. It makes it more of a, just a tool that we use and being able to feel those things is a really, it's a really valuable thing. It enables people to move forward.

Maren: For Gloria, the Grand Traverse ski race ended up being a tale of two cries. There was that one we talked about earlier, when she melted down on the first day of training with her partner Melanie. And then there was the cry that happened during the race itself. 

Gloria: Melanie and I got really good at skiing together and we did a great job on race day. We skied as a unit And the race has a cutoff at 7:00 AM at star pass, which is the high point of the race.

And, in the final hour and a half or two hours before that cutoff, we were just pinning it. We were going as hard as we could cuz we could see that time cutoff approaching. And there's a tiny little knob right before the cutoff and you have to do a quick transition there and then ski, I don't know, maybe one minute, 45 seconds down to the cutoff point. And we got to that high point, you know, I remember thinking, God, it must be 7:00 AM or very, very close to it. But I was like, I don't even have time to check my watch. We quickly transition. I can see the cutoff. People are checking off racers. And like, when you ski down, you kinda lose sight of the cutoff for a moment. Cuz you go around a bend.

And when the cutoff reappeared, the course marshall was standing there holding her poles up in an X.

And I was just like, ‘oh my gosh, like we missed it by like minutes.’ 

You know, I'm actually getting teary right now telling this story um, and I just felt like, just disbelief and sadness. Right? Like I was heartbroken. I was like, oh my gosh, we trained so hard all season. We tried so hard the last couple hours. We missed it by so, so close. We were so close. And yeah, that was just a moment actually, where I don’t think I did feel embarrassed about the tears.

I was just like standing there on star pass and I just let myself cry. You know, it was like crying, like where you're like, you're getting the foam of your goggles wet. Right.

But, as all this is happening, there's a storm blowing in and it's becoming increasingly white out and it's like, we gotta get down.

And so it was like, okay, like I let myself cry. And then it was like, okay, it's time to go. We have to go, we gotta get off this peak. and we turned around and started skiing right back out the way we came, you know, like we had gone 17 miles and we were skiing right back out.

And, it was really interesting. Like, I felt better. I felt at peace after I cried. Like, I felt like I got it out. And as we were skiing down, I was able to start thinking like, wow, you know, like this was a huge goal. And it was always going to be a stretch, you know? Like I was never certain that we were gonna make it right.

And so it was cool that I stretched myself and tried. I was like, wow. We really put ourselves out there. And we tried really hard and I'm really proud of us. And yeah, and like that was, I guess the final point that I really loved that Emily made about sports crying, which is she was like, for me, it's about pushing my limits. I've pushed my limits. 

And I was thinking that that day too, you know, and I was actually reflecting. I was like, you know, I used to cry a lot when I was learning this sport and I haven't cried for a long time. And, and this is the first time I've cried in like quite a few years. And I cried because I was pushing myself. And sometimes when you push yourself, you push yourself too far. And, uh, and I think tears in that sense can be like a badge of honor. You're like, well, I went there. I went as far as I could go and I found my limit and, and it's sad, but I'm also proud of myself for going there.

Maren: I asked Gloria what she thought would have happened if she and Melanie had made the cutoff, and been able to ski all the way to Aspen. Would she have cried at the finish out of joy, the way Cody did on Denali? You can guess her answer. But as she points out, the feelings we have when we achieve something really hard aren't all about happiness. 

Gloria: And I think, you know, Cody was talking about when he cried on Denali and he was saying that he was thinking about how every step he had taken was the highest he had ever been. And, and like looking back on base camp, seeing how far he had come, I'm sure he was reflecting, not just on how far physically he'd come, but like metaphorically he'd come too, you know, that he was kind of in this like outer reaches of, of the earth.

And even if you're like crying because of a beautiful sunset, it's like you're crying because you're kind of at the limit of beauty, beauty that a person can experience. Right?

Maren: Yeah. So in a way, Your grand traverse adventure was destined to end in crying one way or another.

Gloria: That's true. I hadn't thought about it that way. Yeah.

Maren: If you finished the race, you definitely would've been crying

Gloria: For sure. Yeah. Would be cool. Or would've been cool to be crying at the finish,

Maren: Thank you to Gloria Liu for speaking with me for this episode, and for recording her interviews with Emily Harrington and Cody Townsend. You can read Gloria's article about the sports cry on our website: outsideonline.com. You can see the view that made Cody Townsend cry on his YouTube channel: the first episode of the Fifty chronicles his trip to Denali. The North Face produced a short film about Emily Harrington's ascent of the Golden Gate, which features the cry you heard earlier in the episode. It is available on the brand's Youtube channel. You can follow both athletes on instagram.

Listener, when was your last sports cry? If you have a story that you would like to share, record it as a voice memo and email it to us at podcast@outsideinc.com. And if you're enjoying this show, leave us a review wherever you listen, or tell your friends about us between sobs.

This episode was brought to you by NOW, a company that offers more than 900 safe and effective nutritional supplements at a price that feels good. To learn more, visit NOWfoods.com/feelgood.

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Maren: Do you think you're gonna try it again?

Gloria: Oh gosh. Um, right now I don't think so. But Melanie has been asking about it. So the other day she was like, do you ever think about the grand traverse? And I was like, no.

She was like, ‘really? You don't think about how, if we had race skis, we could have made it.’

And I'm like, ‘no, no, Melanie, I don't think about that. Do you? 

She's like, ‘yeah. I've been thinking about it. Would you ever want to like–’

Oh God.

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Outside’s longstanding literary storytelling tradition comes to life in audio with features that will both entertain and inform listeners. We launched in March 2016 with our first series, Science of Survival, and have since expanded our show to offer a range of story formats, including reports from our correspondents in the field and interviews with the biggest figures in sports, adventure, and the outdoors.