Yet, when I get behind the wheel few weeks ago to start driving to my trail race, I can’t settle in. Usually, I turn on a podcast or an audiobook, or some great music, and half listen, half daydream.
This time around, I am pissy. And somewhat resentful. I do not feel like driving 1.5 hours to the race site.
The inner monologue goes something like this:
I don’t want to go to the stupid race! What’s the point anyway? It’s not like I have not run a race before.
What is my motivation here? [crickets…]
I have a perfectly good forest ten minutes away from where I live, why burn money on gas and a toll road (and race registration), if I can have a beautiful trail run and be home within two hours?
Who the hell starts a race in the middle of August at 10am anyway? That’s just dumb. It’s already +28C, and it’s only getting hotter.
I am running barefoot, so it’s not like I am going to beat any personal records. So, what IS the point?
Not like I have anything to prove.
What a drag.
To make things worse, I get lost on my way to the race. Not the first occurrence (and not the last), but today it’s especially frustrating. I didn’t even want to go, remember???
I finally find the entrance to the park, after twenty minutes of circling around though admittedly gorgeous Ontario greenery. I pin the bib to my chest, fill up my hydration bladder, and head to the start, under the surprised looks of few runners who spotted my Lunas.
The race is fun, although it IS hot as fuck. I finish respectable 15th (in my age category, that is), guzzle water, and soon after, get behind the wheel once again. Grumbling about 1.5 hours drive back.
Here’s the thing. I have done fewer events this year than any year before that. With buying the house, moving, planning a wedding, having a wedding, and then travelling for what seems like six weeks out of the last eight, I just can’t get into the racing mode this year.
Is it this year? Is it racing burnout? Or have I changed as a person?
IS MY INNER RACER DEAD?
By the time, I felt like I could relax a little bit, the calendar said September. The obstacle racing season is (for the most part) over, and I’d rather be relaxing on a couch with a highball glass of Negroni and a book, than be putting in the miles.
I also finally felt able, ready and willing to embrace the travel as much as I wanted to. This year was… TRAVEL, TRAVEL, TRAVEL.
Nicaragua and Costa Rica in February, California in May, Russia in July, Oregon, Kansas and Missouri in August.
With more travel in the works.
As of this very moment, I do not have tickets booked anywhere. But that’s not gonna last long. I already know I will be in Florida in October, and a shitload of states that I have not been to before in the next few weeks. And… I couldn’t be happier.
SO, ABOUT THAT INNER RACER…
Did my inner racer morph into my inner travel junkie / wanderlusty gypsy and citizen of the world?
Did my journey towards mental health and emotional stability finally result in me no longer needing to time myself against anyone, including myself?
And if so, what the hell do I do with myself now? [Step 1 – order new business cards].
This morning, I was working on the weighted carries circuit after my regular Olympic lifting class (that snatch is looking better, y’all). Five rounds – thirty seconds on, thirty seconds off.
I hate doing this circuit at the gym, because I can never find proper equipment. Kettlebells are ideal for this, but at LA Fitness (I know… I know…), the heaviest kettlebell is 35lb. So, no… Walking around with two 45lb plates works for a while, but it’s too light. And the heavy dumbbells seem to be working on a different part of grip altogether, so I just start losing the strength in the pinky and the ring finger before the interval is up, dropping the weights before the thirty seconds are up. [If there was ever a first world problem, that right there may be it].
A CrossFit gym is better suited for the weighted carries because they carry a MUCH bigger selection of kettlebells. Today – two 55-lb beauties were… too light.
Next ones up? 70lb.
Yet… Few minutes later, I try out those, and realize that they are indeed the appropriate weight. They are just enough of a challenge for me to ALMOST drop them by the end of the thirty seconds.
And yes, they are the heaviest pair of the kettlebells at the gym.
I share that amazing piece of information with my coach, who immediately points out the farmer’s carry bar.
“You can load it up with as much as you want!”, he is happy to report. “Oh, and.. You should really try last month’s challenge!”.
Every month there is a challenge posted on the whiteboard, challenging the members to complete the same challenge and compare the scores.
“What’s the challenge?”.
What a sucker I am…
“It’s a 400m sled drag with 50lb”.
“That’s it?”, I ask. Oh man… already being cocky. I am doomed.
“That’s it”, he nods. I can’t help, but notice the tiniest of the evil smiles creep up in the corner of his mouth.
He is already loading up the plates. Two 25lb plates + 67lb the actual sled = 117lb. Just around the building. Got it.
“What’s a good time?”, I hear myself ask.
“Best female time is 4:24”.
I don’t wear a watch. Coach clips me into a harness attached to the sled.
Ten seconds countdown, and I am off. He slowly jogs beside me, keeping me company and encouraging me along the way. He doesn’t have to jog for very long – the sled drag is not heavy, but deceptively difficult, simply due to muscle fatigue. My legs are ON FIRE. And I am about quarter of the way done.
I slow down significantly on the second half of the drag. Coach is by my side, cheering me on.
“Come on! You are almost there!”.
Ah yes. The famous words that are never true in the moment.
As I turn the last corner, I only have twenty or thirty feet to go.
“Sprint!”, coach yells.
I do my best, and I think manage a wee increase in speed.
Few seconds later, I collapse on the rubber flooring. Classic Crossfit.
Time: 3:33, beating the best female time by almost a minute.
“What was YOUR time?”, I ask my coach.
“3:30”, he says.
“Ugh”, I roll my eyes. “I TOTALLY could have shaved off four seconds”.
Ahhhhhhhh… my inner racer. She is alive and well. Just napping this year.