Tuesday, December 10, 2019

I Have Additional Thoughts...

In the blink of an eye, the end of the year—and the end of the decade—is upon us.

These milestones quietly reverberate through our house; imperceptible, constant tectonics building toward events we can't predict. A cursory review of 2019 (instagram.com/mcm_pnw/) reminds us how jolting those changes can be.

We lost people this year. Scrolling through their photos proves there's no expiration date on hurt powerful enough to bring tears months later.

There were highs as well, most often defined by the life-affirming things we got out and got done. A 25k race in January, an insane seven-week training block in March and April leading to a 100k gut-punch in May.

After that, and by design, the outdoor activities became easier, more restorative. They coincided with children leaving home on journeys of their own, redefining our family in ways we may never fully find the edges of.

It's quieter now. There's more breathing room for music while I make dinner; for a few pages of a book in the evening; for writing instead of watching a screen.

There's no logic to wanting any year to end, any more than there is to believing the next one will be better. As always, time unspools and events transpire, unmoved by our need to put them in boxes.

Sunday, December 08, 2019

The temptation of change

"There is no statute of limitations on starting over. Re-invent yourself every day. Be the girl who walks barefoot and listens to the blues. Tomorrow, wear a trench coat and speak fierce truths. Be a phoenix. Be ashes. Burn down. Resurrect. Let go of the idea that you must always be who you have always been."

Can I keep up with this girl? Unlikely.
But I'm willing to try. 
I was texting back and forth with our daughter recently, talking about her workouts as part of an elite college cheer squad.

On that day the team was doing trap bar deadlifts, she said, building legs and overall body strength. 

I said dad things, like "Mind your form" and "Don't get hurt." She said athlete-in-training things, like "I did 205 lb. today!" and "It's strong girl season."

Seemingly non sequitur segue: today was Western States 100 lottery day, and I...

...didn't get in.

I wasn't reeeeallly expecting to (because math), but for the first time in my WS lottery journey, I'm actually disappointed.

What better way to channel that disappointment than to come up with ANOTHER PLAN??

After due consideration and diligence (all 20 minutes-worth) plan B is the Cascade Crest 100-miler, in August 2020. Caveat: this is a lottery event as well, so there may be a plan C in the not-too distant future. BUT FOR NOW...

...it's Cascade Crest or bust.

Liner notes: the start line for Cascade Crest is about an hour and a half from our house. It dishes up 23,000 feet of climbing and (getting way ahead of myself here) would be my qualifier for Western States 2021.

If I don't hit THAT lottery (totally possible), plan C would be Mountain Lakes 100 in September.

Fun note: Mountain Lakes IS ALSO A LOTTERY!

Will I be cranky if plans A through C fall apart? Yes, yes I will.

But if necessary, I WILL HAVE A PLAN D. At some point.
Personal note: getting this fired up about doing something I've never done, something likely to crush me physically and emotionally for months afterward is, uh, not typical.

But, as noted previously, my window for this kind of adventure is not getting any wider. I'll be, like, a hundred years old in 2020. Research shows very few centenarians successfully take on a 100-mile race.

With that in mind—if not now, when?
Pursuant to the elegant quote at the top and to tie this all together: we don't have to be the person we've always been. We can be resilient and reinvent ourselves and do trap bar deadlifts if we want to. If we're feeling especially obstinate, we can sign up for a hundred-miler.

I endorse all of this because, to quote a very smart young woman, it's strong girl season.

It's always strong girl season.
"You never step in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and you're not the same person."
~Heraclitus (more or less)