I suppose months ago this seemed a good idea.
Fly up to Seattle, run a couple of downhill marathons I once used for a moonshot sub-3 hour PR.
But as with every decision of 2022… of, hell, all of the 2020s… this one was a wrong decision.
A late night Southwest flight was scheduled to have me land at SeaTec Airport not too long before my rental car company was closing for the night. But i needn’t have scrambled to reach them on the phone during a bait and switch delay on my connecting flight – we actually arrived early after Southwest reversed the posted delay. I have never seen that happen in five decades of flying.
I arrived at the parking lot for the race by 2 am with packet pickup scheduled for 5 am and the start moved up to 6 am to accommodate unseasonably high 90 degree+ weather forecasts.
A fools’ quest to wrangle a few hours of shut-eye via a reclined rental car seat left me feeling cramped and bleary-eyed. I was sure at that moment gazing into the night sky that the biggest dipper was me.
I had run this race before [link] but that year they had shuttled us from our parked cars at the finish line to the start. This year’s “new and improved” race had us park at the start and get a shuttle back from the finish… a decision that at race’s end would lead me to sitting around waiting for a bus to arrive for over half an hour, then ride the bus for 30 minutes to get to my car and drive back that half hour to grab lunch at the restaurant mere blocks from the finish.
It’s been like that all year. I follow the rules and wind up just getting screwed.
As for the race itself, the years and the mileage have taken their toll, as have the logistics and injuries. Despite my best efforts to get back into shape, I don’t seem to be running any better than I did in January. If anything, I’ve gotten slower and less athletic. It’s a precipitous decline and there doesn’t seem to be any doubt that the better times are behind me.
I can’t recall my last good run. Not in training or at an event. And in truth, I can’t recall the last good day I had. I used to wax poetic about how so long ad things were more than 50% of the time good, you stick. When the scales shift to having more bad than good, that’s when you need to look at an escape plan.
I can’t recall the last day that was on balance more good than bad.
And today was no exception.
It was a lousy day. Mosquitoes sucked my blood as we waited to start, leaving behind welts over my hands and legs. A headlamp was necessary for the 2.5 mile tunnel and I hadn’t prepped it with my name for a drop option, meaning this bulky lamp was jangling in my pocket for 23 miles. And while my neuroma held to a dull ache, you can see even in my shadow that my listing gait displays a limping style that favors the left food’s pain.
In the end I eventually finished. But I hated the whole thing.
I’m supposed to run the second event tomorrow and I’m giving serious consideration to skipping it. Unfortunately, as of so many have pointed out, I’m cheap and tight with a dollar. And after days, weeks, months, years of bills piling up, I’m tired of throwing money away. The second day of running cost probably $600 in late Sunday airfare, extra rental car days, race fees, and parking. And those all are sunk, prepaid costs. Whether I run or not tomorrow, that money is already spent. So maybe I might as well run/walk the thing. My other option is hanging out in an airbnb for several hours. I already have spent far too much time this year waiting on others’ timelines.
Odds are I’ll run tomorrow. The problem is there’s no way to drop out and quit the race. It’s a point to point affair along a Raul to trail course, with seemingly minimal access to support vehicles.
I hate quitting. But I already feel dumb for making every other decision this year.
Sometimes I can fake a smile or moment for a selfie during a race; scrolling through my pics today, I couldn’t find a smile anywhere.
And just so we’re clear — this was NOT a good decision to come run this race. Somehow I suspect I’ll make another poor decision and run again tomorrow… if only to get out of this boiling AirBNB I find myself in. Like 50% of all Seattle homes, it doesn’t have A/C or duct work to facilitate adding A/C. So while it’s apparently 95 degrees outside, inside it’s a greenhouse effect 104.
So much for getting a good night’s rest.
Like I said, it’s been a lousy day.