Where's Waldo 100km was my goal race for the summer. Although I always try to avoid the rigid mentality of preparing for a single event, there is no doubt that I was looking forward to this race and wanting to test my limits at the 100km distance. I had a good load of training under my belt including back-to-back weekends of 30+ mile runs (5 on the year). My body was in a good place and I was rearing to go and simply enjoying the taper...that was until I rolled my ankle ten days out from the race. It turns out I cranked it pretty good and ended up having approximately a 2inch micro-tear along my posterior tibial tendon. I took it easy, did the right things and it ended up healing enough that it was a non-issue a few days out from the race.
Meredith (who was also running the race) and I drove down to Oregon. This was suppose to be a vacation for us and a time to explore Oregon and Washington, something we both had yet to do. In a perfect world, the plan was to camp at Mt Rainer then Mt Hood the nights before the race, head down to the Williamette Pass region where the race was to take place, run the race, and then work our way to the Oregon coast and head back home camping along the way. Unfortunately, things do not always proceed as we would like. Situations arise and I believe it is how we take on these predicaments that truly shapes who we are as individuals.
With that said, I will give the bare-bones of the story. Meredith had some recurring SI issues arise prior to the race and although we remained optimistic, things never really looked good for her racing the event. As the day neared, we knew it was a no-go. At that point I also made the decisison to not race. This was not an easy decision for me in the least, nor a trivial one. I honestly went back-and-forth for half a day considering my options and weighing out the alternatives. At the end of the day I certainly made a sacrifice but one I am comfortable with. I was not willing to put Mereidth through the emotional turmoil of watching me run an event that she herself had been dreaming of also doing. I experienced this last year at Trans Rockies when I had to hit the sidelines after only 3 days of running. The ensuing days were painful in as many ways as the word can encapsulate. Watching other people compete in an event that you make a commitment to also do is like rubbing salt in a wound. As much as you cheer, put on a face of encouragement, deep down it is an emotional low that takes you by surprise in its magnitude. So with that, I tried to put the race behind me and enjoy the rest of the trip as we had originally planned. We went on numerous hikes, kayaked the coast and explored the numerous small towns along the way. Mt Rainer was spectacular and a place I look to get back to as soon as possible. We just got a taste, but the trails were spectacular. Mt Hood fits into this category as well. I was also able to experience cross-country mountain biking for the first time. In Oakridge Oregon (there Squamish I would say) we ended up doing a 5 hour/27mile bike ride with some 3000 plus feet of climbing and the same amount of descent. It was all single track and a pleasure to ride. Much to my surprise I took to it pretty well and kept both feet on the peddles for approximately 95% of the ride. Oakridge was certainly a town with trails galore.
In the end I have always said that it is the training that I ultimately extract the most gratification from versus the race (or racing) itself. While achieving the "ultimate" prize completes the theoretical picture, I am never one to relish just in this accomplishment. Honestly, I do not run to race; rather, I run for the sake of running itself and that is what I will continue to do. There will always be other races.
On that note, on my first morning back I went up to Norvan Falls and looped about for a nice 3:10/19 mile effort. It is good to be home.