Out of the Black and Into the Blue

I have been completely unenthusiastic about running lately. And that’s putting it mildly.

I’m starting to come out on the other side of things, mostly because Zumbro is behind me. The race, unfortunately, was canceled due to weather. I am not going to lie, this was a huge relief to me. Zumbro weighed so heavily on me. My training went fairly poorly, and I failed to get even 50 miles most weeks. I think that probably would have been okay if my average mileage had been in the 40s, but my average mileage for training ended up being like 37 miles or so. Not much more than I’d get during a 50k.

I was prepared not to run the race, or to run a modified version of it. Once the Bulldogs advanced to the Frozen Four, I canceled my hotel room. I knew I’d still have an opportunity to run the whole race, if they didn’t make the national championship game, but I could also run 2 loops (~34 miles) and make it home in time to watch the game. (If I ran the whole thing, I’d be done before game time, but also likely too tired to watch.) When it looked like it was going to be nice, I was still thinking I’d do what I could.

When it looked like it was going to be frigid and rainy the whole time, I was out. I was not prepared to run at night, in rain and potentially ice, even for a shorter distance. I was chicken, and I was coming face to face with the consequences of the denial I’d been living in. I’d done very little to prep for the race. I didn’t do any really long runs. I didn’t run at night. I didn’t run in poor conditions. I barely ran outside at all, and hardly ever on trails. I didn’t do anything hard, but expected to show up and do something incredibly hard.

My chest felt so heavy it felt like a rock had replaced my heart. I knew I’d have to live with the decision not to run, and feel like I’d wasted money, embarrassed myself, and overall let myself down. When I saw the weather started to turn, I started to think that maybe I could avoid all that misery. If the race was canceled, I wouldn’t have to be a quitter! Then I thought about all the people who worked hard to put on the event, and who worked hard to line up at the start, especially those who missed out on last year’s race, and I felt like garbage for even entertaining the hope that it would be canceled, just so I could look myself in the mirror.

The race was canceled, and I’m still a quitter. I quit in my head and my heart before I knew it was canceled (although I do think I would have made it down if the weather had been favorable, and at least started the race), so no one else knew I was a quitter. I’m here to correct the record.

It’s been warm enough to run outside in just shorts and a t-shirt lately (though the warm weather comes and goes), and that has helped me love running again. I don’t have to think about unshoveled sidewalks, phantom patches of ice, and frostbite. It’s still light out when I finish my runs in the evening. I’m not chilled to the bone when I come in from a run. Trails are starting to dry out.

I’ve got Ice Age 50K in a few weeks (although I have a weird soreness in the upper part of my left leg that I can’t seem to pinpoint, so I’m taking a few days off to rest and spending that time worrying about what could be wrong), and I’m really looking forward to that. I have missed racing and I’ve missed being in the woods.

The bright shiny silver lining to this story is that UMD won another national championship, so Zumbro weekend ended on a very, very, very high note!

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