Race, Off

Sunday runday, and it was about just a month ago I was lamenting the upcoming lack of race season.

My running partners were all busily signing up for virtual races that seemed to me as little more than paying for a t-shirt and a medal. Meanwhile we would all tell ourselves that the difference between running around the neighbourhood this weekend as opposed to last weekend was that this weekend was a virtual race. Wink wink. And about ninety-dollars in race fees.

I would run. But this year would be a season of no races.


Until Friday night there was an exception to all my lamenting.

The long-shot was a local late-May ultramarathon of various distances that we’d all signed up for in the first days of twenty-twenty. Over a year ago. Trained and ready when COVID sprung. In April of last year, we each recieved an email that the race had been deferred for a year in hopes that the pandemic (which surely wouldn’t last more than a couple months, right?) would be a distant memory. We would all race again next year.

This year.

So it went that on the last weekend of May 2021, four weeks out from writing this, I was due to tackle the Blackfoot Ultra for another go. Twenty-five kilometers of the “baby ultra” distance through the rolling trails of a nearby natural preserve area.

Friday evening the fateful email came again.

Due to COVID the race organizers, unsurprisingly, were unable to obtain a permit from the local health authority to host a couple hundred racers and support crew for a daylong event. Every registration has been deferred yet again to twenty-twenty-two.

The single, solitary race for which I have been registered now for nearly a year and a half is now officially thirteen months away.

Race, off.

I could grumble here. I could write that all those hills we’ve been running were all for naught. That my push to recover from some joint inflamation over the last couple months so that I could keep up my distances was a waste. Or that somehow my motivation was only sparked by the prospect of that looming twenty-five klick weekend less than a month away.

I could.

I won’t.

We’ve all made so many sacrifices this past fourteen months that I can’t account for this as more than another disappointing blip.

It’s another opportunity to reshape my training plan. A chance to think about what I want to get out of a summer without any races at all. None. What that means to my week-to-week training and how I can use that freedom to explore the city’s trails again this summer.

Perhaps a running streak?

Or some adventure running, looking for trails I’ve never met before.

Maybe just enjoying the time with my cohort without any pressure for pace or distance.

The last of my races may be off, but I’m thinking of it as an opportunity.