Friday, 25 February 2011

Oops, I Did It Again...Or Did I???

Knowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness. ~ George Santanyana

I thought I had bid racing adieu in 2009...but I guess I may just have one last race left in me.  Well, let's put it this way, I've committed to it so I'm going to do my best to fulfill that commitment.

2009 was not a great year.  Or was it?  On one hand it was not a great year for participating in triathlons.  I signed up for one half Ironman and two Ironman races.  Part way through I realized that mentally, emotionally and physically I was done - for many reasons that I will not dwell on because they are in the past.  But because I'm a stubborn girl, I continued on and finished the races.  Or did they finish me??  I don't think I realized the toll they took on me until I stopped doing them.  Boy, had they ever taken their toll.

And that brings us to the thought that maybe 2009 was a great year.  I learned a lot about myself.  One thing I realized was that I no longer wanted to be a slave to the grind of training.  Afterall, it's not like I was some uber athlete.  Nope, I'm just your average Jill out there doing something for fun.  So when it stopped being fun, it was time to reflect and learn, which is what I spent most of 2010 doing.

Instead of spending all my time training, I spent it moving back to my hometown where my family was, figuring out how to simplify my life, and getting back into nature doing the things I love to do.  The result of that was finding inner peace.  I guess it was always there.  It was just a matter of quieting my life so I could tap into it.

Somewhere along the line in 2010 some friends and I talked about Sinister 7.  It's a trail race in Crownest Pass, AB.  At that point I was still in my race haze I think because I agreed to be a part of a relay team.  I hadn't given it much thought after that, but in December I was asked to contribute to the race fee.  Now at this point racing was FAR from my mind.  But I had committed to it...and it would give me a chance to see my friends from my old town...not to mention I could hang with my buddy Julie who lives there.  I decided I was still in and sent my fee.  Then I forgot about it.

Sometime in late January or early February I remembered I signed up for this race.  Granted it's not until July, but I decided I better start looking into getting a coach.  True, I do run through the forest all the time - it is one of my ultimate happy places.  Also true, I run up hills and stairs in my forest run.  But I only run for about an hour, and part of that hour is running back down hill.  So I wasn't quite sure how I should go about training for my 16 km portion of a 148 km trail run.  It didn't help that adjectives of the climb used in the description of my relay portion were 'gruelling' and 'punishing'.  Yikes.

Enter Jen Segger from Challenge by Choice.  I had found her on the MOMAR site and liked what I read about her.  One thing I didn't count on was the anxiety I felt after contacting her!  I realized I had some residual mental and emotional attachment to training and racing.  I didn't' want to go back to that dark place of training.  I love trail running and just want to do it because I love it, even if I did have a race to prepare for.   I talked to Jen about that during our initial meet and greet and I really appreciated that she understood where I was coming from.  I've also spent some time thinking about what training was going to look like for me this time around.

Some things I was sure of, I would like to do this race because it will be a challenge, I want to be on a team with my friends, this will be the last race I do for a long while, I want to complete my leg of the run and not spend the next few days in pain, I want to be prepared for what it has to offer.  I also know that I will not be devoting my entire life to training for this race, as was the way of the past.

I will officially start training in March and I'm looking forward to the adventure that it will be.  At least with this type of training I can continue to spend time being the long haired leaping gnome who frolics on the trails through the trees of the North Shore.  Oh and training or no, while out on the trails I will still continue my habit of stopping to pet dogs and to hug trees, because really, if you can't make time to give a little love, then what's the point of being out there?

Peace out all you beautiful people!