Thursday, December 28, 2017

Return to the Scene of the Toast

The fact the first race of my 2018 running season actually occurs in December of 2017 means nothing to me. I haven't raced since September and what I did then was more trying to survive rather than race. I've been over my disappointments from last year numerous times and I will try not to go too much into that again. It is difficult for me to move on from that and the best way to do that is to just focus on the next race. That race will be the Tuscobia 80 mile.
Last year at Tuscobia I completed the 160 mile version on foot after failing to do so the year before. The experience could be described as near to a religious, spiritual experience as I have ever had. It was frightening, liberating, and perhaps even life changing. I don't think any of this is hyperbole. My perception of myself and life in general has been different since spending those 63 hours and change out in sub zero temperatures, mostly alone. There were periods where deja vu left me very confused yet comforted. I had moments were I felt completely separated from my physical body. I had revelations about what it took to move myself 160 miles across space and time. My whole perception of reality was challenged. It was amazing. I wanted to go back but I decided to do the 80 miles as I am not sure I am ready to experience all these things again just yet.
I felt like maybe I was afraid of trying the 160 again, since that was a word I used when thinking about it. Maybe it is more that I gained respect for it after finishing it in the second attempt. I respect it enough to know that I shouldn't try it at a time when I don't have the will to give the necessary effort to finish again. At some point, however, I will definitely try again.
Since taking a few weeks off after St. Pat's I have been back to regular running. As a bonus I have been very consistent about going to the gym and working on overall and core strength. It has helped me feel much better. The running mileage has slowly built up and doing long runs of 20 miles or more are not miserable struggles that they were over the summer. The training groove is back and I feel good about it.
The days leading up to Tuscobia have been getting colder and colder. It looks like it won't be as cold as last time but it will still be below 0 F for much of the race. I've not worried about it too much. I know the gear I have will get me through these temperatures without an issue. I have experience and confidence on my side. I also know that I only have to get through one night instead of two and into a third. Hopefully I'm not taking it too lightly. It is strange how the perspective has changed.
So this post will be a short one as I still have to pack up my gear. Results and recap next time.