If you know me, then you know how much I love race day. As an ultrarunner, race day doesn’t come often enough. The long distances and grueling terrain aren’t conducive, in the long term, to frequent racing. A friend of mine who races competitively on the roads has already raced three times this year, and he has another race day coming up soon. I’m completely jealous.
I’ve only had one race day this year and that was at the 2018 Black Canyon 100k. The purpose of racing there was to finish top two, thereby earning a golden ticket and entry into the 2018 Western States 100. I really want to run the Western States 100.
If you know me, you know that I love race day because I love competition. And I love competition because it’s only among a group of competitors that you can get the most out of yourself. I take that idea very seriously. So, when the gun goes off, I’m very serious.
If you know me outside of racing, and you’ve seen me race, then you know that I’m a noticeably different person when I’m between the start and finish lines. I’m generally gregarious and friendly and nice to people. But you won’t find me talking during a race, and you won’t find me being friendly, and, during a race, I probably don’t seem very nice. Like I said, I take the idea of getting the most out of myself very seriously, and that requires focus.
With that in mind, you might imagine how frustrating it would be for me if I turned up sick a couple of days before one of the few days each year when I have the chance to try to get the most out of myself. That’s what happened before Black Canyon and not only did I not finish, but I didn’t get to experience the painfully enjoyable pleasure of hurting a lot while pushing hard during a long race. That’s a tough thing to miss out on because that experience is the reason I train hard.
I worked my tail off for two months training for Black Canyon, which itself was enjoyable, but the enjoyment turns shallow when it isn’t capped off with a race. It’s kind of like if you were to put a bunch of time into making batter for a cake, and then you spill the bowl of icing and all you’re left with is the cooked batter, the cake only. Cake without icing on top? I don’t like that. Even bad icing on top would be better than no icing at all.
If you know me, then you also know that I’m an optimistic guy. I try to look on the bright side. Life can be tough enough as it is and I don’t see any reason to make it more difficult.
That’s a big reason why I’m not too bummed out about Black Canyon. The bright side is that I get to race again, and sooner than expected. The bright side is that I have another chance to race my way into the Western States 100. Did I mention that I really want to run that race? The Lake Sonoma 50 is April 14th and two men will earn a golden ticket and thereby gain entry into Western States. I hope I’ll be one of those two men.
Shifting gears after an unexpected shortfall isn’t easy. It’s been tough to find the motivation to train. After all, I hoped I’d be laid up on a couch for a couple weeks eating food all day after Black Canyon. Instead, I need to get back into training. It’s been a slow start but I’m taking my time so that I’m mentally ready to put in some hard training without arriving at the start line fried. And I don’t want to arrive at the start line fried. I want to arrive at the start line ready to go.
If you know me, I bet you know why.