On the Edge of The Escarpment

On the edge of a lot of things. Quitting running forever? No. Come on. It’s just a hard race that devastates your sense of being “in shape” so effectively that the director (Dick Vincent) could consider adding an additional qualifying prerequisite – “WHY?” At least think about it for a day.

George Mallory might say, “Because it’s there.” OK. Pfff. So are a lot of things, which offer a cheapened experience if just checking a box. I’d be more accepting of the answer, “To try to win,” even though I’m not into competing purely for the sake of beating others. “Because I might learn something on the way.” Better. “I want to show the East Coast how a West Coaster can hang in there.” Bad answer. Eastern trails don’t mess around. “Because I need something to kick me back into reality.” There we go.

The top of the cliff, which guides you from North Point to the finish, was that kick. It also marked failure. The exposed rock and temps over 90 F were more than I could handle. I ran too hard earlier to have any margin for tolerating a heat index increase. I’m not conceding that my pacing was a mistake (a risk can be rewarding and maybe the afternoon clouds would have rolled in?), but it would have been an error to continue pressing. I walked a bit, down hill. I took a few quick steps, caught my toe and superman-ed into the dirt. Reduced. Defeated. Destined for the (overheat) med-tent.

As uncharacteristic as that was, it accurately represents the last several months. I generally enjoy running so much that I hardly call it training. 2019 has been a wild ride with short preparation, big successes, but fewer smiles. The drain was masked by podiums and elite field call-ups. The reality is, I am fast, but tired. Experienced, but still foolish. Far along my journey, but not there yet.

The consequences of fading too far left in the cliff miles of The Escarpment are grave. Consider me straightened out. My Backcountry Rise 50k training plan has been tossed in the trash until I start to feel better about…everything.

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