Cancelled?  What in the wide wide world of sports do you mean cancelled?  Maybe I’m still working through the first couple stages of grief, but this just doesn’t seem real.  I registered and paid my entry fee, but now I don’t get to run?

Let me me backup for a second.  I know I’m a little delayed getting this letter out to you (#life).  You see I got notified of the cancellation the day before Bighorn.  I was sitting in the Sheridan Best Western when the email hit my phone.  I read it a couple times, but wasn’t able to devote much thought to it as I was completely focused on getting up and over a bunch of mountains.  Afterwards, I was dealing with my travesty of a race, a family vacation in Yellowstone, and then getting caught up at work after being out for almost two weeks.  So while it’s taken me some time to get in touch with you, it’s not because I don’t care.

If anything, I care too much.  So instead of dwelling on what I’ve lost this year, I’ve had my head in the sand a bit.  Sure, I went and signed up for another 100 as soon as I got back in PA (please don’t be jealous), however it can’t replace a trip to Waterville.  Heck, I can barely focus on that race (2 weeks out and I still have barely looked at logistics) because I’m still trying to process the cancellation.  There’s this gaping hole in my August now that I don’t know how to fill.  My wedding anniversary is usually right around race day (give or take a day) and while my wife will be happy to have my full attention this year, it won’t be the same. [jk, honey!]

So I’m kinda at a loss on where it go from here.  And I know I don’t have it nearly as bad as other runners.  I wasn’t running the Triple Crown, so hadn’t already invested time and effort into two other races.  I hadn’t shelled out any money for travel arrangements.  And I was easily able to find another race to run so I have another shot this summer for a buckle and a Western States qualifier.  I know I’m lucky relative to others.  But logic doesn’t factor into the equation when you’re talking about something that’s very emotional and personal.

And. . . well, I don’t want to get all sappy, but you mean a lot to me.  I am very proud of my two buckles.  I look back at our time together (all 68 hours) and while I can’t say I had fun for all of it (or even most if I’m being truly honest), I can say that the sense of accomplishment I feel for finishing is worth every second I spent on your trails.  Worth every blister.  Worth every painfully slow step taken up your steep hills.  And worth every header taken coming back down them.

But alas . . .

Listen, I gotta run.  Just wanted to let you know I’m bummed.  I know stuff happens.  Life’s not fair as my mom used to say.  And while ultrarunners are supposed to be able to deal with things going wrong (society calls it grit now), that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

So hang in there, ES100.  I’ll see you next year.

Yours in suffering,

Phil

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