I didn’t race in the Robert Spurr Memorial Hill Climb at Bird Ridge in Anchorage last Sunday. I went up to the trailhead, and walked back and forth from the parking lot to bib pickup multiple times throughout the day, but I was donning Crocs and not my trail runners.
I love racing, and, coming off of 2020, it’s been awhile since I’ve participated in a running race. I was excited as ski races came back this past winter, and am anxiously anticipating a few races this summer, but Bird Ridge was not one of them.
When I showed up to the trailhead with Patrick (who did run the race) I felt a bit off, though. I had a book in hand and quickly became a repository for all the extra layers my racing friends decided they no longer needed.
And while I waited for the start, other friends asked why I wasn’t racing. I had plenty of answers lined up, including a slightly irritated quad, missed registration or inexperience, since I’ve never even hiked the Bird Ridge trail!
But, the reality of it is, I really just didn’t want to. I did want to spend the day reading, and then shopping for groceries in Anchorage. Being able to cheer on and assist friends at the race was an added bonus.
I didn’t want to race, so I didn’t, and I’ve been finding again and again that I usually know what I want to do. In the past, I’ve succumbed to the “Yes” mentality, immediately agreeing to or signing up for anything and everything that comes my way.
I’ve adopted a bit of a slower response while I’m managing some grief in my life. I’ve realized that I can’t tell when waves of sadness will hit me, and how I will react when it does.
Sometimes I slouch into bed while other times I lace up my shoes and run. I’ve been bailing on plans made when I’m feeling happier, opting to tell the truth. I wouldn’t be much fun right now anyway.
I’m being gentle to myself, or trying my hardest to be.
A few years ago, if I had been at a race and not running, I would’ve been upset with myself for not stepping up to the challenge.
Sunday morning at the start line of the race I was grateful that I didn’t have to do anything. I was happy that I could instead cheer on my partner and my friends, and I was excited to one day run the Robert Spurr Memorial Hill Climb, when I was feeling more up to it.
And I was really looking forward to sitting down, reading a good book and waiting for all the racers to return and tell me how they did.
By KAT SORENSEN