Thursday, January 20, 2011

Another Plan of Retribution... Foiled

After attempting the Twin Peak 50 Mile race last February 2010 and, at mile 42, being mercilessly bitch-slapped by the course with the first DNF in my immature career, I was eagerly anticipating the 2011 event.

I signed up for the race as soon as registration opened.
I joined the Facebook page.
I signed up for e-mail updates.
I even returned to the scene of the crime between 10-15 times for training runs to familiarize myself with the area.

This last action more than any other seemed particularly wise, given that my 2010 race had unraveled as a direct result of not knowing which path to take at a fork on the course, a situation I quickly made worse by pausing for just 0.2 seconds before picking a path at random and charging along it, full speed, for 5 miles... running ever-deeper into the woods, at night, in the wrong direction, with no water, no working cell phone, and 1 gel... stupid.

Thank goodness for that troupe of Boy Scouts.

The group was just finishing up their own 18 mile hike, and were kind and patient enough to listen to my confused questions ("but... where is the START from here?"), my defensive reactions ("I didn't miss the cutoff! I nowhere NEAR the cutoff! I'm telling you, I did not miss the cutoff..."), and my frustrated, tearful implorations, once I realized I desperately needed their help to get out of there ("I... don't... {sob}.. know... where... {whimper} ...I am...").

So, after finally getting home that night (where I promptly threw up in the front yard before dragging my sorry butt inside) I vowed that in 2011, in Corona CA, I would be back.

In 2010 I did some more races. I trained, finished races, learned, trained, and learned some more. Specifically, I trained for the Twin Peaks 2011, going back to the course in Corona and running the sections I found most challenging in the 2010 race. Five weeks from the race, I thought I was ready... until the e-mail letting me know the February race would not be happening.

My first reaction upon reading the e-mail was to gasp, then say "No!" aloud (which I instantly regretted, as I was sitting at the airport next to a young man I didn't know, who immediately started giggling).

Then, I re-read the e-mail and lightly scolded myself (quietly, this time) for my reaction. A race being postponed, or even canceled, is not the end of the world. Sure, this was to be "my" race, but these things happen.

As the race director explained it, the recent rainfall in CA has simply made the ground too unstable in some parts of the course for the run to be safe - indeed, there is even a section where the trail had collapsed entirely, so extensive planning would have had to be made to re-route the course and volunteers around this area were the race to go on... but it all seemed too challenging and uncertain, especially if more rain was to fall in the meantime. The result was that the race would be postponed until October of the same year, when better conditions were more likely.

It's not my ideal result - after all, I have been building up to this race for the last 6 months or so - but it is certainly justified, and it's the right thing for the organizers to do (I'm sure they are relieved to have my approval).

And, it gives me more time to train. Train, train, train... and study. And learn. And get rid of every last excuse.

So when October 2nd dawns, on the bright winter's day in Corona, CA... I'll be ready. And I'll make that course my own... sans Boy Scouts.

I'll be ready for you, Twin Peaks... will you be ready for me?

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