Jack N Jill Downhill Marathon – Day 2 – A Failure To Launch

What we had here was a failure to launch.

I was behind before even the word “go.”

I bumped into a running buddy in the parking lot. He asked if I was really trying to hit sub-3 on the second day of races. When I said yes, he laughed and said, “you’re stupid.” It was meant in a “that’s crazy! Good luck!” tone and wasn’t meant to be discouraging but it was sadly discouraging.

At the start line they had trays of temporary tattoos for pace times; the only one they were out of was the 3:00 pace.

In a fit of stupidity (might as well own it), I grabbed a 2:55 but had issues applying it to my forearm. There were many mistakes made.

As the race organizer slow counted down from 10 (I swear it took 15-20 seconds), I wished some folks well and waited to go.

From my first step, my body wasn’t happy with me. It’s hard to tell in the pitch black tunnel where you are and what you’re running. At 2.5 miles, you reach a moment that lasts far longer than you’d think where there’s just darkness, punctuated by undulating lights from headlamps or handheld flashlights. Eventually, a pinpoint of light from the end of the tunnel appears but it’s deceptive. It’s a lot farther away than you’d think.

Efforts to snap shots inside were blurred swatches of light worthy of UFO conspiracy theorists. But here’s a POV shot from the exit.

Having given up on even a chance of a sub 3, I struggled through the miles, snapping photos to distract me from the failed times. Met some good folks along the course, many going for their PR and BQs.

Here then is a travelogue of the course, a medley of random shots from the road.

In the end, the folks I met hit their goals, which is always inspiring. Special shout out to Greg Silver who ran his heart out… and was rewarded with his first ever Boston Qualifier!

As for me, there was no moon. The eagle did not land, it didn’t even really achieve orbit. Can I call it a successful failure? Perhaps only because the moonshot was just for me. Had I made it, it wouldn’t have changed anyone’s life. I wouldn’t have been the first to break the three hour barrier; I wouldn’t even have been the ten thousandth. But it would’ve meant something to me.

I’m sitting in Twede’s Diner contemplating lunch and a slice of pie. I don’t feel like I deserve the pie given the outcomes. And my stomach isn’t really up for pie anyway, albeit that feels like another failure. Still, there’s a part of me that feels I’d regret having a slice more than I would not having it.

Sometimes I listen to my body.

Even though both I and it are stupid.


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