Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I miss that soggy feeling

This coming Saturday is the date for the 2007 Soggy Bottom 100. I spent most of the summer swinging wildly between definitely entering this race and definitely not entering this race. Somehow, I ended up at the latter extreme. It is probably a good thing. It's still travel money I don't need to spend; vacation time that could probably be better used elsewhere. That doesn't change the fact that I'm feeling remorse right now about blowing it off ... that last big gasp for my 2007 season, now nothing more than a whimper.

From an athletic perspective, it's hard for me to think of 2007 as anything more than a small disaster: a disappointing showing at my "A" race in mid-February, followed by months and months of chronic injury and immobility that dogged me throughout my mellow, competition-free summer. It's disappointing because I felt like I had a good thing going after 2006. I even entered a 24-hour solo race before I realized they were supposed to be one of the most difficult events out there, then came within just a few minutes of making it to the overall podium (I know what you're thinking. "Really? Her?" It's true, but Anchorage never gets a huge showing for these races.) Still, for the first time in my life, I felt like I had a shot at being competitive at an athletic pursuit. It was a great feeling after years of feigning illness during the presidential fitness tests and hiding my shame as I waited to be picked last for the softball team.

Then the 2007 season came and went, and suddenly I feel like I have not much to show for it. This remorse has stoked my competitive fire for 2008 even more ... to devote my free time from mid-October on to training and studying (yes, studying) for the Iditarod Invitational 350. I want to put in the smartest, strongest effort I have to give. Then, if I survive that, I'd like coordinate my summer vacation with a good endurance race - maybe the Kokopelli Trail Time Trial if such a thing is organized this year, or Trans Iowa V.4 (I do love the Midwest). Maybe I'll even find a 24-hour solo race where I can actually compete with other women (I'm trying to think beyond hamster races, but I really do like 24s. It seems everything about them plays to my strengths, and the sheer repetition snuffs out a lot of my weaknesses.)

What to do next year? Where to go? It's exciting to formulate plans. However, if I am to survive the ride to McGrath, I'm going to have to treat this February race like it's my one and only. If it ends up like the 2007 Susitna 100 did, it will be.


  1. c'mon jill, i know you're going to ride the gdr next summer. you may as well just come clean with that now :)

  2. Come do 24 Hours of 9 Mile with me next year. I'm definitely planning to put that one on my calendar and it'd be fun to have company! Plus, you'd meet a lot of the rest of us endurance nuts!

  3. Sounds to me - based on what you have written in these blogs - that you have experienced the essence of the Alaskan wilderness and felt that euphoric joy of pushing yourself many, many, many times this summer (those are the things we'll remember on our death bed...not standing on a podium). It seems that might be the true measure of a "good" season, living life to the fullest, more so than a resume chalk full of 1st places. Based on this blog, you've had an incredible season.

  4. "Then the 2007 season came and went, and suddenly I feel like I have not much to show for it."

    Hardly, Jill, hardly.

    Here's another event (for you or Geoff) to contemplate...since you "do love the Midwest":


  5. I guess you are right, you are pretty much a failure huh?

    Might as well go back to Utah and get a job at Costco.

  6. Don't you love winter? The seasons in AK give us such good opportunites to organize our focus: Winter is great for studying! (And skiing, for me...)

    You've put in a lot of miles this summmer. Didn't you learn a lot? All of that is a good base for next year, yes?

    At least you don't have mysterious stomach pain.

    Now, go ride your bike!

  7. good luck with your plans and, overall enjoy your life.

  8. Johnny T, Alison Dunlap, many others have had such setbacks. An entire year of riding below your potential so you can rehab an injury or even just recharge yourself can happen. These are the times that try your will. Just as you challenge your body you must rise to the challenges within. 2007 put a huge hill in front of you. Will you hammer it? Will you spin? Will you make it to the top? Will you see it as a time to build upon your will so you can own the summit? From what I've read, you will!

  9. soggy is as soggy does...
    ahh you can still be soggy in Juneau.
    Nice job on your big trip, that was freaking awesome! was great to read about it and I'm glad your knee held up :)

  10. Hey, I am thinking about the Trans Iowa V.4; wouldn't that be awesome to do that together?

    Jill, you accomplished a lot this year. I know your knee made for a big set back, but that will soon be a memory and it will make you even tougher, because you know you can overcome something like that.
    Mind over matter!!

    You ARE a GREAT rider and not only because you ride with your heart!!!


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