This Year, I Turn Left

So, Oil Creek 100 is made up of 3-31 mile loops, followed by an 8-mile, “Coming Home” loop.  Yes…. I’ve done the math.  I know that’s 101 miles.  I try not to think about it.

For each of the first three loops, when you approach a fork in the trail, marked only by two humble signs, you turn to the right.  However, should you reach that glorious Coming Home loop, you get to turn to the left.  Rog has asked me to have someone with me when I do that loop, as it contains a hill that is quite sadistic.  It is called, "The Hill of Truth".   I’ve trained on the loop twice, once with Rog, and once on my own.  I understand his concern.  

Roger knows how hard I’ve been training.  I’m not one to post every workout, but I’ve been putting in the miles.  He recently asked me my plan for this year’s race.   It is simple and summed up in five words:  This year, I turn left. 

That race has defeated me in the past and it had been quite a thorn in my side.  I changed my training this year to prepare for it.  I’ve added a dance class and a yoga practice.  What I didn’t expect was, rather than just making me a stronger runner, those changes have made me a stronger person.

Rog and I often talk about our ‘mojo’.  It seems at one point or another, one of us has lost ours, and needs a swift kick in the butt to get it back.   I have learned to focus more on the journey, and frankly, to just enjoy the ride.  However, I am far from perfect.  Sometimes my euphoria gets interrupted, and I have to readjust and refocus.  Then, BOOM!  It’s back, stronger than before.  It’s powerful to share that with a friend.

Today, I ran a half marathon in Philadelphia.  It is to be my last race before Oil Creek.  At the start, I looked to yoga, and set my intention.  I wanted to simply be there; be in the race; be in the moment.  I wanted to do as my running company professes.  I wanted to run happy.

I was able to enjoy the journey.  I crossed the finish line, feeling like a runner.  I felt strong and accomplished, but unfettered by such things as my finishing time.

Oil Creek will come, sooner rather than later.  I will reach it’s starting line trained, and with ample mojo.  But, I no longer worry about crossing the finish line.  I will be challenged, and I welcome those challenges (however, I do hope they are not in bear form).  I will run happy, and although my ability to do so may rest in a power far greater than I, I will do all that is in my capabilities to assure that this year, I turn left.


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