It’s been quite a summer, which is to say it hasn’t felt much like summer. It feels like there has been much too much going on in our lives to be able to stop and take some deep breaths and relax a bit. Somewhere in the mix of teaching and meetings and bathroom renovations I decided it was probably a good idea to step back from the idea of racing 100 miles in September. That race day just kept getting closer and my fitness and preparation were staying rather too far away from where I wanted them to be. Why make something you do for fun even more stressful than it has to be? So I made the decision to take it off my calendar and prepare for another Guana 50km trail race in December and then work up to a longer distance sometime in 2022.
Anytime I suddenly find myself without that fitness goal, I find that my motivation takes a big hit. This time has been no different, I’ve skipped some workouts and the rest of my effort has been a little unenthusiastic. And that is ok because I do this for health and sanity and because I love it so there’s no good reason to force stuff. I’ve been nursing a bit of a heel issue for about a year now so that also has kept me from running like I normally would be.
Well last week I decided to take a peek at the ultramarathon calendar in my neck of the woods for 2022 to see what sort of races were going to be out there. There was one word floating in the back of my mind when I typed that Google search, Ironhorse, my brain whispered quietly to me. So I was pretty excited to see that the Ironhorse trail races were going to be back on for 2022. As I clicked through their registration site and looked at the pictures I saw myself, or at least my head, floating in the background of one of them, and the other pictures of runners out there on the trails brought my last trip to Florahome flooding back to me.
They say smells and memories are really closely linked…heck I say it too when I’m teaching my intro psychology class and we talk about some examples of smells and memories that are tightly intertwined and why that is biologically. Seeing those trails brought back the smells of that day in February 2018, the last time I ran there. Memories are a funny thing too because we don’t always remember all of the bad things. I can still bring to mind the feeling of loneliness as the dark trail opened up before me, the feeling that that finish line was an almost impossible distance away. But the memories that are easiest to draw to mind now are mostly positive ones of the good parts of the day, the opportunity to be out in nature (all day) and all the friendly faces.
So we’re going back to Florahome baby! February 2022. 100km of trail running excitement awaits. And as quickly as I had decided on a new race to prepare for my motivation and my purpose in training had returned. Heck I even started doing some PT exercises to try and rehab my foot so that running and its aftermath can be blissfully free of discomfort again. I even went ahead and registered for the Guana trail race in December, gotta cross another 50km off my list before lining up for that 100.