Tag Archives: siskiyou out back

That Time I Showed Up At The Starting Line And Didn’t Start

This was supposed to be my one and only ultra this year.  After getting injured in early April and recovering six weeks later, I signed up for a 50-miler as well as a 100K to get my training back on track.  Except it didn’t, and I took my 100K off the table.

I’ve been on a bit of a free-for-all over the past two and half months. A marathon and half marathon – two distances I could get through with minimal training, were completed. Pacing 16 miles of a major 100-miler was also done, so a 31-mile race should be doable, right? As the SOB (Siskiyou Out Back) approached,  I was excited about the opportunity to visit Ashland, camp solo for the night up at Mt. Ashland Ski Lodge, and run on the PCT.  What I wasn’t anticipating was a lack of mental drive, crabiness from a miserable night of sleep, and a strong desire to get back to my kids who’d been gone during the week prior.

I was planning on dropping down to the 50K (from the 50-miler) the morning of the race, as I was instructed to do by the race directors.  Unfortunately, my one fellow running friend that had signed up, also had to drop due to injury – so I was looking at a very solo effort, with no one holding me accountable. After arriving to a full parking lot at Mt. Ashland Ski Lodge the night before, I holed myself up in the back of the truck and tried to enjoy the quiet, disconnected evening by picking up a book and actually reading(!).  As the sun went down, the view of Mt. Shasta faded, and off to sleep I went.


The sunset view from Mt. Ashland with Mt. Shasta in the distance.

Unfortunately I woke up freezing cold numerous times and was unable to rest soundly.  At 4:45 a.m. the van next to me started up its engine. And at 5 a.m., the race directors gave us a hearty wake-up call by blasting the Beatles into the parking lot.  It was race day.  I opened my eyes that morning, unmotivated, and thought about dropping down to the 15K which started at 8:15 and then realized I could be close to Salem by that point. At 5:30 a.m., I pulled out of the parking lot with no regrets.  It was Salem and my kids, for the win.

I used to think that if I bailed on a race without any physical injury to blame, it was because of performance nerves and anxiety.  And there are still race day mornings when I wake up anxious, asking myself, “Why do I do this?” But this was not one of those days.  I felt tired, and knowing I had a 4.5-hour drive once the race was over, was nagging at me.  I would be even more tired after the race. And god, I missed my kids.

So I drove away from the festive start line still in my pajamas, and made my way up I-5 knowing I would being seeing my kids much sooner than I had originally anticipated. Yes, I knew that the post-race comments on social media would give me pangs of immediate regret, but I am experienced enough to know there’s always next year. My bigger realization was that I had signed up for the 50-miler which was truly the race I wanted to run.  Not the 50K or 15K. 50 miles.  A race where you are awarded with a sweet-ass cermic mug at the finish line.  Because I’ll do any race for a mug.




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