Monday, August 27, 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.