My First Ultra-Marathon (Attempt): Will They Cancel My Race?

An email from Jenny Baker sat in my inbox.

Subject: “The Georgia Jewel”.

Here it is. I thought. They’ve cancelled my race. This fear has been in the forefront of my fragile existence for months.

My finger hovered over the email.

You knew it was coming, right? Everyone else has had their race cancelled. Why wouldn’t yours be the same?

I have been in a heavier than normal depression lately. The turd tornado known as 2020 has kicked us all hard.
Let’s roll some beautiful bean footage:

  1. Corona
  2. Quarentine
  3. My grandmother died
  4. I’m working during a pandemic (Which I’m glad to work, but it brings about more stress to be around so many people each day).
  5. My wife gave birth to our daughter in December. (Which is great, but we still have our first newborn. So…)
  6. My college classes have migrated to online.
  7. I’m training for a race that is well above my abilities (presumably to mend daddy issues).

I need to read this dang email. It’s hard, though.

There’s a Catch-22. One of my ABSOLUTE favorite bands will be in Atlanta the night before my race. I almost hope they would cancel the sucker. I would be heartbroken, sure. I would say, “Oh well”, shrug emoji, “What are you going to do?”. And then I would buy myself a ticket to go see The Killers in ATL or NASH. Petty, sure. And stupid.
I need this race for my well-being. I need something substantial to haul me from this funk. A concert, though impressive, will not produce it. A 38-mile tromp through the woods will change me. I’ll be stronger than before, and I’ll test my abilities and find more flaws. Sorry Music industry, one show will not reveal physical capabilities and weigh one’s endurance to train without reward for 11 months.

I’m curious about how I’ll handle the cancellation of the race. My eating patterns, though still vegan, would ravage a sedentary body. I’ll blow up like a puffer fish if I stop running. The only thing convincing my running shoes to get on my feet is the possibility of a complete failure after publicly “burning the boats” with this blog. I wish my intrinsic motivation was riding high, but honestly, I’m running against embarrassment and shame. I’ve all but forgotten my why. For now, I run because I’m supposed to. I love running. But stress is sucking my brain energy that keeps my purposes, routines, healthy habits, and calorie counts in check.

I open the email; hold my breath; and consume the first paragraph:

“Hey, Jewel Runners!
It’s gonna happen… September is coming and the Jewel will happen. Everyone take a deep breath and give yourself permission to smile and get a bit excited.”

I guess they really have canceled it, my pessimism tells me. I’m just waiting for the word virtual.

I skip to the bottom, sure that it will say, “Sorry guys, hopefully we’ll be back at it next year”.
She continues:

“September will come and we’ll get to run on the Pinhoti. Franklin and I just wanted to touch base and let you know we’re thinking of you, cheering for you and planning a meaningful weekend in the woods for this September. (Oh, and a sanitary one…I mean, as sanitary as trail running can be.)”
Until then, keep moving, keep hoping and keep helping.
Jenny B.”

Looks like we’re still on. Better find my running shoes. When the email came through, I may have preemptively dropped them in the trash can.

-Nate

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