In a normal year, winter training is tough. Getting out in the morning and battling the cold and dark are not my favorite. But when there is a spring race on the horizon, there is that tiny light at the end of the tunnel which is usually just enough to keep me somewhat motivated. Then there's winter training during a pandemic. Equally as dark and cold but with no tiny light. And that about sums it up. Last year, as a way to stay focused and challenged, I set a few new and different goals that I knew I could safely pursue given the Covid situation including a 50K, a 50 miler and an eight hour run challenge, all virtual, of course.
It was next level crazy as far as training went and given the lack of in-person races available I welcomed the opportunity to test out the world of ultra running. I would even venture to say I had fun with it. Most of the time. I did learn that my 45 year old body can handle some seriously high mileage which I was pretty surprised and excited about. Could be good. Could be very bad. Depends what day you ask me. Having completed my last big ultra in mid-December, I rolled into the holiday season feeling, at least as far as running goes, physically and mentally fulfilled and ready for a much needed break. At the same time, I couldn't help but wonder what the hell I was going to focus on come 2021 as I knew things would not be changing much during the first half of the year and that I still had no races on the calendar for the foreseeable future. I wasn't panicking, mind you. But, I know myself. I thrive on routine. I like to have something to work towards. The more difficult the better. And I don't really do "down time".
The bottom line is this. I love to run and I need it now more than ever to get through my day to day life. What I miss most about racing is being with the running community, supporting my peers and more often than not, working together to reach big goals. I still have those goals. I just don't have the races. As my coach recently put it, when you're out at sea, just because you can't see land doesn't mean it isn't there. So, yes, I'm a bit adrift. We all are in our own way. But, at least I'm floating along with some really cool people who love to do what I do. I'll happily take that for now.