The Western States lottery opens in 7 days. I haven't run a single step since Aug. 31, and am not allowed to run again until Nov. 23. Yet, I can't help but to seriously consider tossing my name in the hat for this race.
I have no idea how my return to running will go. I've never, in 15 years of running, sustained an injury as serious as my current one. However, the mere idea of being able to set foot on this course again is truly inspiring. This is a course that chews up and swallows the ill-prepared, and spits back out only those with enough grit to handle the intense downhill pounding and uphill hiking. It's a course that at points really broke me mentally, and most definitely physically as my injury was sustained in the weeks that followed. Yet, the reward of this finish is so great that I want to suffer through it again. And the course is so beautiful that even during the hail and rain that was abundant during the first half of this year's race, the beauty was awe inspiring. During the section that runs through the canyons, I had to stop for about 30 seconds and just look around. This race is the most incredible running experience I have ever had.
Besides, I learned so much this past year that I know will help if I get to run in 2013. I know how to better mind the temperature to regulate salt intake. I definitely know the importance of having well trimmed toenails. And I know how to hurt and keep moving. Which sounds, simple; but after 20 hours of running and the onset of nausea - it's a lot easier to stop than to keep moving. I also learned a lot about how to train, and what works and doesn't and what I need to do more of before I tackle this particular course again.
But then there is reality. I haven't run in almost 10 weeks. I've stayed fairly fit by "normal" people standards. But I am nowhere near the lean go out and run for a couple hours on Saturday, hit the rock gym for some bouldering, and then do it again on Sunday fit. Can I get back to there in a couple months of training, yes - if everything goes well. But, what if it doesn't? What if I'm not healed entirely when I start up again?
But hey, there's only a 10% chance of getting in, right? And I certainly won't get in twice in a row, right? So what's the harm in tossing my name in? Although yes I do WANT to get in, and think it would be awesome to run it 2 years in row. But the odds are not in my favor. So heck, I guess that settles it. Next Saturday, my name is going in the hat. Wish me luck! And if your name is going in the hat also, "May the odds be ever in your favor".