My summer race series got cancelled too… and it’s the best thing that has happened to me in a long time.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m as bummed as anyone to have to cancel my entire summer because of unforeseen circumstances. Yet, if there is a big lesson I have learned from the disruption; I don’t need a race to go out for a run or a grab my bike to go ride. I don’t need the external validation from other people to work in my intentional movement for the day. I don’t need anyone to hold me accountable or motivate me to run the longest trails on the highest mountains.
For the first time in years (since my first half marathon in 2014), I get to run for fun. I am no longer confined to the constraints of a strict training schedule. I no longer have to pay for this race and that race and plan my entire summer around how I will fit all the ‘stuff’ in around the outdoor activities I want to do.
Since March, I have watched race after race get cancelled. I have watched the fear grow. I have seen some friends hide away in their homes. I have watched other friends escape outside. I have seen pictures and posts of virtual races, challenges as well as inactivity from others. I’ve also watched many others take this opportunity to get back to the real reason they started becoming active in the first place.
I am sad I don’t get to spend my entire summer in Leadville, CO training for the Leadman/Leadville Race Series. I am crushed to miss the miles and smiles and friends I would normally get to see all summer. I have been wondering for months what this summer will bring and how to reframe my thought process around exploration and adventures over training toward a huge athletic accomplishment.
Here is what I know…
I have been given the greatest opportunity to begin again and remember why I started running to start with. I get to go back and remember what it was like to walk around the block at 400 pounds. I get to go back to the simplicity of running my first block, my first mile, my first 5 miles. I get to relive my first trail run. I have the opportunity to climb the highest mountains, stop to smell the flowers, takes selfies on the switchbacks and go adventuring in new places.
This summer is a great time to stay active and let my mind and body recover from the extreme focus of training schedules and calorie counting that comes from endurance racing. I get to let myself travel to new places and meet new people. I get to see and discover what has been hidden behind the blinders of extreme challenges and ultra-running.
I know for many of you racing is a part of life. I know there are many reasons to be bummed and disappointed. I know the massive amounts of time and energy it takes to focus on an event and have uncontrollable outside circumstances ‘take it away’ from you. My heart goes out to you. I feel the disappointment with you. I am in the same situation as you.
I’m also here to encourage you to look upon the opportunity to get back to the basics. I hope you can rediscover your ‘why’. Maybe together we can look at the ways to recover and growth through the difficult situation so when we can start our next training cycle, we can be refreshed and renewed with a new outlook and gratitude for the opportunity we have for the upcoming year. I hope you do what is best for you, your mindset, your fitness, your health, and your future as we all find a way to keep moving forward toward our best self.
When the darkness of uncertainty overshadows you vision, always remember to focus on the three feet in front of your feet. Keep your head up and feet moving forward because the hill doesn’t last forever. With enough strength and courage mixed with patience and persistence one step will lead to another and another until you work your way toward the second sunrise of life where you can begin again toward your next adventure in life.