So, I’ve had it on my to-do list for two weeks to write a race report from Nationals. I keep thinking about it, clicking over to my blog every now and again, even opening a New Post window once or twice.
But the truth is, I don’t want to write another race report.
Not because it wasn’t a memorable race – between the popping foliage; the rain, snow, and hail; the sub-freezing temperatures; and the broken bikes, intense sleep monsters, and navigational blunders, it offered some of the highest highs and lowest lows of the entire season. We had a stellar first ten hours, an awesome last ten hours, and a pretty miserable middle ten hours, in every possible way.
Apparently I was having fun for at least part of the day. Photo c/o Vlad Bukalo
And not because it wasn’t a fantastic, creative, well-organized, and well-executed event – it exceeded all expectations of a race put on by the New York Adventure Racing Association… and with NYARA at the helm and Rodney and Amy doing course design, we went in with some high expectations. Seriously, the last hour had us trekking down a cascading creek that spilled out into a steep waterfall. It was one of my favorite sections of any race I’ve ever done.
No, the reason I don’t want to write another race report is because I’m done.
Utterly and totally done.
It was a long, grueling season. I raced twelve times – the shortest being 10 hours and the longest 106. All together, I was out on one race course or another for 365 hours in 2012. Add to that a few hundred additional hours dedicated to planning the GOALS Cradle of Liberty and countless more training, prepping, and driving to and from these races – and that’s a whole lot of hours of adventure racing in one 10-month stretch.
Don’t get me wrong – in general, I had a blast and got to experience some truly phenomenal things (remember the bobcat-vs-deer encounter on Day 4 of Untamed New England, and the Dancing Man at the Adidas Terrex in Scotland?), and I’m really proud of our results. We finished on the podium of all but one regional race, put in respectable showings at two multi-day AR World Series events, earned second place in the East Coast Adventure Racing Points Series and in the US Adventure Racing Association Points Series, and even at Nationals, our worst race of the season by far, we finished 10th in our division and 13th overall.
But over the last few races of the season, I found myself wondering what I was doing out in the woods in the middle of the night, questioning why I was putting myself through it.
There are some people who can compete in half a dozen or more international multi-day races in the span of 12 months without thinking. I learned this year that I’m not one of them.
I said to a friend the other day that I haven’t ever wanted to race less than I want to race right now. There is no part of me that wants to stay up all night, eat crappy food, and bushwhack through mountain laurel and stinging nettles. I’m so tired of adventure racing that I spent one evening earlier this week looking at marathons for next spring and half ironmen for next summer (I’m not doing the half ironman. I may do the marathon).
And – of course – I know that before long these feelings will abate. I’ll find myself itching for a night hike or a morning of orienteering. I’ll start stalking race calendars and coming up with training goals and off-season plans (let’s be real – I’ve already been doing this, even as I swear off AR), and maybe I’ll even make a move toward cleaning and fixing up my mountain bike. It’s in need of a little TLC right now.
In the meantime, though, I’m going to chill out and focus on other things for a bit. We’ve been living in a construction zone for the past six months, and we’re about three weeks away from having our house back. I’m now officially under contract for my first book and have been having fun diving back into writing and wrapping up the manuscript. I’m running for fun, catching up with friends, helping out with the girls cross-country team at Brent’s school, and planning trips to New Orleans and Maine and maybe Eastern Europe.
Getting ready for the Sixers home opener on Halloween night. Because all off-seasons should include Where’s Waldo costumes and spontaneous basketball games with friends.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog in recent months. I’m bored with writing race report after race report (there are only so many ways to say that we spent the past 12, 24, 30, or 106 hours running around in the woods), and I’ve gone back and forth on whether to shut it down for awhile. But I don’t think I’m quite there yet. We’ll see where it goes.
Oh, and if you do want to read about our drama-filled 30 hours in the Catskills, check out Brent’s report here. He’s retired until the spring, too. But already itching for redemption.