After being sick for two weeks (including a week of not running), I was ready to hit the trails. I signed up for the Fells 40 Miler just outside of Boston, and was psyched to have one final trail race in 2009.
The course was 8 mile loops, and despite a forecast of rain and snow and 30 degree temps, I was psyched to spend a day out on the trails.
I felt pretty slow the first loop. The terrain was fairly technical, with some big boulders that slowed me down, and it took a while to warm up. I was running alone when I ran into Nelson and Giselle, who were lost after arriving late. They were on the blue trail and they began running with me. Fun!
Back at the start, we fueled up, and Nelson and Giselle got the dogs. We ran the next lap with the dogs, which was fun. We changed directions that lap, and I liked that way -- easier.
Nelson and Giselle wanted to run in opposite directions, so Iliana and I ran together the easier way. It was fun, though it started raining a little. I decided to definitely do a fourth lap, while Iliana decided she'd nap.
When we got back to the start, the RD told me he didn't want me going out. "It'll be too dark." Damn, I didn't even think of a headlamp. I ended up borrowing a headlamp from someone. I began to get ready for my fourth lap.
"The thing is...I'm leaving at five. You can still go, still continue, but if anything happens. Bring your cell phone."
I was debating - should I stay or go? There would always be another race - but I hate stopping running, especially when I was having a blast. I decided I'd go. I swapped shirts for a drier shirt, put my mobile phone in my fuel belt, filled up my water bottle.
"You could slip..."
Getting lost in the dark...
I began to doubt myself. Should I go? Should I stay?
I dropped my headlamp and lost a battery. I was fumbling, trying to leave.
And then it started to sleet...ice...snow...rain...
And my decision was made. The rocks were slick enough at the start, even more so with a little rain. But with ice...I am not stupid enough to risk breaking a leg.
I was okay with that decision. Sad, yes, but there will be plenty of ultras. I ate some pizza with Nelson and Iliana and I began the snowy drive back to NY.
There will be another race soon. There's always another race. There's the Phunt 50k and the Watchung 50k and the Dances with Dirt 50 Miler and Umstead...so I didn't get in Western States 100, but maybe there will be San Diego 100 Miler or Big Horn or just a lazy day on the beach....There will always be more races. I knew if something bad happened I would not have been able to get help easily, and there would not be people periodically passing me -- and I would regret the decision of taking an extra lap. Sometimes, the smart decision is the hard one to make.