I'm about 18 hours away from the culmination of the most massive chunk of running I've ever put in, having hauled my chubby arse a grand total of 1,573km between January 1st and yesterday evening. Our car is chock full of camping gear and an entire running store's worth of crap "I might want at some point" as I attempt to endure through 12 hours of heat, sun and sweatiness.
|This is actually an improvement from the 35c they had been calling for..|
I don't know how it's all going to come out. The whole reason I signed up for the Dirty Girls 12-hour in the first place is because the very idea scared the living hell out of me. I've run a lot for me, but only a fraction of the mileage, intensity and elevation that I know for a fact other people are doing in preparation for both this race and similar ones. I haven't got much in the way of extra sleep this week (despite the best of intentions and actually tapering), and I've never even camped for a race before. There's a strong possibility I will be unable to finish, let alone make my goal of 72km for the day. I could be injured, succumb to the heat, become severely dehydrated, bonk due to insufficient calorie intake, or simply be unable to force myself to continue.
I'm trying to believe I have the fitness to see this through. More than that, I'm trying to believe in my own stubbornness, or at least the stupidity that has let me carry on to the finish of other races simply because I was too dumb to stop when it was the reasonable thing to do.
These things may still not be enough, and I may fall short of what I hope to accomplish.
"Chase the dream, but love the journey - because that's 99% of it"
That sound bite struck a chord with me as I look back over the months of training I've put that have brought me to the starting line tomorrow morning. Watching the seasons change and the woods explode into riotous green on the trails at Huron Natural Area, Puslinch Tract, Hydrocut, GORBA, and on the Walter Bean Grand River Trail, Guelph, Mississauga, Kitchener and Cambridge Trails.
|There was still snow on the ground here in April|
|Some other trail users|
|Closer to home|
|Sunset over the river|
Every one of those sights was an experience that stirred something in my soul, and all of those photos are from the last week alone. There are hundreds more, plus all the scenes I didn't capture in anything but my own memory. There were lousy days of running, of course - not every workout is going to feel great, and there were times I needed to give myself a severe kick in the arse just to get out the door. But all along the way there have been moments of joy and triumph, whether from conquering a climb I'd previously had to walk, spotting the first of the wildflowers starting to open along the trail, or simply gutting out a tough run in which everything went wrong.
No matter what happens tomorrow, the real value of Dirty Girls has been to lead me on the path that brought me to all those moments. Long after the medal has tarnished and the tshirt has been lost, the experiences of the day itself and all of the runs leading up to it will live on as tiny tiles in the vast mosaic of my memories. Thus, even if I can't make it through the full 12 hours tomorrow, I don't think I can possibly say that I've failed.
That said, I am bound and determined to finish this thing...so let's do it!
|Even if I have to crawl.|