Race Cancelled…Now What?

This blog was supposed to be about my very first trail marathon.  I was supposed to be writing it this morning in the back of Dan’s jeep on our way home from Indiana.  But sometimes, what is “supposed” to happen, doesn’t.

On Friday morning, I was all packed up when I left home to head to work.  I was working a short shift then I was going to meet Shane and Dan so we could drive over to Bloomington, IN where Wes, Shalini and her husband Brad would be waiting for us.  We had been looking forward to this for weeks. Shane and I had signed waivers for Shalini and Wes to get out packets since we would get in later. Friday morning we had a group text going about foam rollers and Garmins and mostly how excited we were.  The last two texts on that thread were:

RRG:  I’m so excited to spend the weekend with you geeks!  🙂

Vega: What she said!  This is going to be EPIC!!!

It was supposed to be epic.  And the weekend was still epic.  Just not the way it was supposed to be.

Shortly before I left work, I noticed that I had missed calls from both Shane and Wes.  I thought, “Hmm, That’s weird”.  I also had texts from both of them.  Shane’s simply said “Call me”.  Wes’s was more explanatory.  It said, “Trail Marathon was cancelled cause of inclement weather! 🙁 ”

No, no, no, no, no…they’re kidding.  They’re just messing with me.  Shane pulls this kind of stuff on me all the time and I always fall for it.  Not this time.  So, I checked my email and sure enough, there was a message from the director of the Tecumseh marathon declaring that the race was, in fact, cancelled.  My heart dropped.  I felt like I had been punched in the stomach.

As soon as I left work, I called Vega.  He answered the phone and I said, “That is the most subdued I have ever heard you answer the phone.”  We talked about what we were going to do now that we were all packed and had cleared our schedules for the weekend.  Wes was actually on his way to Shalini’s house to carpool when he got the call from her to say the race was off.  All 4 of us, plus Dan who was going along as our chauffeur/videographer/Sherpa, reacted somewhat differently.  Shalini was pissed and verbalized it!  Shane was pissed too, but needed to not talk about it for a while, resorting to humor.  Vega said he was sad, but in true Vega style he managed to stay pretty even keel.  It will not surprise anyone to know that after my initial denial, I cried.  As I announced to Will and Rosie that my race was not going to happen, I’m sure they could see the tears filling my eyes.  The tears stayed put until later when I was alone in my car, but they came.  With a vengeance.

We briefly considered jumping in cars and doing a road trip somewhere and finding our own trail to run.  I proposed the idea and Vega was the first to respond “IN”.  However, that plan quickly unraveled.  Shane decided to stay and work on Saturday so as not to use up his last vacation day for the year.  The rest of us decided to have a pity party.

Shalini, Wes and I met at Castlewood for a consolation run.  We met in the usual spot and did a similar route to our run last weekend.  I didn’t wear a Garmin so I don’t even know exactly how far we went, somewhere in the 7-8 range.  It was beautiful and snowy and the company was top notch.  However, we all commented that it wasn’t the same without Shane there.  After our run, we split to go clean up, with a plan to reconvene at Brick House for drinks and dinner.  Once we gathered we changed our mind on dinner and headed to Fin for sushi.  The group grew when Nick, Kristen, Katrina and Kayla joined us.  From there we headed to Circle 7 Ranch and the group grew again.  Our “Pity Party” turned out to be a pretty good time.  And that’s really all I can say about that.  What happens at the pity party, stays at the pity party.  Although, I will say there are lots of pouting pictures of us with the race elevation map.

Saturday I was somewhat useless. I stayed in my pj’s all day and I didn’t get much accomplished.  This morning, Shalini arranged a group run at Castlewood to get in the miles she needs to prepare for her first Ultra in January.  (For the non-runners, Ultra = anything greater than a marathon, usually 50k, 50 miles or 100 mile) She and Shane are running the Frozen Gnome in Wisconsin.  I wish I could join them, but it’s just not in the cards.

While my friends are off running through the frozen woods, I am sitting in the warmth of my kitchen with my coffee watching the snow softly fall on my back deck.  I had planned to run with them this morning, I even put on my running clothes, ate breakfast and drove to meet Shane at the location where we were leaving his car at the end of the trail with refueling supplies.  He hopped in the car with me and I said, “I’m not feeling it today.  I’m not staying to run”.  He gave me a little grief at first, but in the end everyone let me do what I needed to.

I have to be at work shortly and I wasn’t up to feeling rushed.  I want a good long run when I’m feeling up to it.  Today was not the day.  I’m hoping tomorrow will bring some good miles.  But today, I’m still processing the events of the weekend.

Life is going to hand us disappointments.  Some big, some small, some that initially seem bigger than they really are.  In the grand scheme of life a cancelled race weekend with my friends isn’t as catastrophic as a variety of other things that could happen.

There will be other races and other road trips.  But it feels good to know that my friends will be there when I need them.  And they’ll let me do my thing when it’s what is best for me.

Old Lindsey would have gone out running today even if she wasn’t feeling it.  I used to do what I thought everyone else needed me to do.  I used to kill myself to make everyone happy.  But I finally realized that was literally killing me.  Parts of me were no longer functioning because I was so worried about everyone else.  But this morning, I knew what I needed.  And this is what it looks like when I take care of Rambling Runner Girl.

Next weekend, the 4 of us who were supposed to run a marathon on Saturday, are all registered for the Pere Marquette Endurance Trail Race.  It’s only 7.5 miles, but it’s an intense course.  I ran it last year and I’m hoping for improvement this year.  Although, it’s tough to compare from year to year because the weather can be so different.  Which just reminds me that it’s not really about beating anyone, including myself.  I’m going to take my next race and do the best I can with it.  And I hope that I can approach every day of life the exact same way.  That’s going to look a little different each day.  Today it’s about finding my peace.  Usually running helps me do that, and tomorrow I will run.  But today finding my peace is about processing the grief that comes with having something taken away.  It’s not as devastating as what it could be.  But the fact is my expectations were smashed.  I’m going to get through it and I’ll be fine.  Mostly because I know that tomorrow is another day, next week is another race, and my friends will be there when I call.

I don’t think I can say it any better than my friend Derrick did on Friday.  I posted a status on Facebook that simply said, “Sulking…” with Wes, Shalini, Shane, Dan and Brad.  Derrick commented, “You don’t need a medal to say you ran 26.2 miles on a trail, go do it anyway…and if you do need that medal-make your own metal up. Find a rock, put a ribbon around it and say this is my marathon rock- NOW GO DO IT!”

Words to live by.  I’m done sulking.  Pity party over.  Now it’s time to get on with it.

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