If you want to have any success or longevity in ultrarunning, you better get good at moving on to Plan B.

This is the second time a race I’ve signed up for was cancelled (2018 ES 100). I really feel for the race organizers and those runners that had been training specifically for this race all winter long. It’s frustrating to put so much time and effort into something and then have the rug pulled out from under you at the last minute (or football if you’re a Peanuts fan).

While I’m disappointed, I’m not completely torn up about it though as at least this time it wasn’t an A race on my schedule or my planned WS100 qualifier. I was a little excited for it since I hadn’t run the race before, but there’s always next year.

But what to do this year? I could go out for a 20-25 mile training run around my house like I did this weekend. I could take the weekend off and rest my legs (they’ve been feeling a little tired). Or I could head down to Maryland anyways and knock out some miles on the Mason-Dixon Trail.

Plan B

I have as a long term goal to run the entire MDT, all 199 miles of it, in one go. This is a huge and terrifying undertaking for me so I have some smaller stepping stone goals leading up to this still very much theoretical endeavor. The first is to section hike/run the entire trail. I started this project last summer with my son. There’s no timetable for this so I hadn’t planned to do any more sections until this summer, but next weekend is a good opportunity to do maps 7 and 8. These total about 30 miles or pretty close to what I would have done at HAT.

A side benefit will be that I’ll be able to practice the pace I plan to start Olde 96er at next month. I could have done this at HAT, however I know that whenever I run a race I’m racing no matter how hard I try to take it nice and easy. So there would have been no way that I could have run a 13-14 minute pace during a race even if it would be on trails. But a self-supported effort on a trail that I’ll need to navigate? I think that could work. Maybe.

Given the constantly evolving coronavirus situation, I’m planning to do this unsupported and not stop at any stores en route (who knows if they’ll even be open?). With the temperatures still pretty mild here in the Mid-Atlantic, I should be able to do 30 miles without having to carry a ridiculous amount of fluid weight. While it’s not the adventure I was planning on, it’s a pretty solid backup plan.

Here’s hoping everyone else out there can find an equally satisfying Plan B.