I’m supposed to be running 200 miles right now, but like everyone else out there my race got cancelled.
Unlike everyone else though the race was only kinda cancelled. The race director moved the race to August about a month ago, however since The Olde 96er is an unsupported run she gave everyone the opportunity to run it solo by themselves if they wanted. I had planned on doing it completely unsupported so that was my plan.
And then the world changed.
But it didn’t change overnight all at once. It was little bits here and there. First, there was a general increase in the internet chatter about the beer flu. Next thing I know I’m buying a couple extra boxes of pasta at the grocery store. Then working from home seems like a good idea. Finally, my office closes and the world basically shuts down outside of hospitals and grocery stores.
Yet still I’m planning on driving 8 hours to Ohio to run by myself on SR45. As long as the convenience stores are open, I’m good to go. Right? Sure there were stay at home orders, but it’s not like they are being strictly enforced. And I’ve been very good only running out to the grocery store twice in a month. Don’t I deserve to get out for a bit? Especially since it looks like everyone else is moving around all over the place?
It wasn’t until I realized I was using the “everyone else is doing it” rationalization that I was able to finally let go of the Olde 96er. That’s so completely not who I am or who I want to be. My clarity came as a bit of a shock. I had been delusional for so long that it was hard to come to grips with my race not happening. The difficulty traces to the challenge I was about to take. The enormous challenge of running 200 miles completely unsupported. Last year, it took me weeks to finally pull the trigger and register for the race. I agonized over the decision due to how far outside my comfort zone this race was. I then spent every day for the next 6 months psyching myself up that I could do this.
And I was successful in that. I was planning on absolutely crushing that course. Training had been going very well and I wanted another awesome experience on those Ohio roads. My identity was completely tied to running 200 miles on my own. And when you invest so much mental energy in seeing yourself accomplish a huge challenge, it’s extremely difficult to let it go. At this point, you can’t just casually walk away because you’re effectively ripping out a huge chunk of who you think you are.
Now the reality is my life isn’t entirely ultras. It’s not the sum total of my identity. It’s not even most of my life. I have a loving family. A job. Friends. You know, a full life outside running insane distances. That should make things easier. And it does. I guess. But easier doesn’t mean easy.
Letting go is still hard to do.