There are times when you just need to run, when you need a race. You need the miles, the pavement. You need to breathe hard, to find space. You need to work, to work toward something.
And since I became a runner nearly five years ago, I'm not sure I've needed the sport or an event more than I have needed it now.
I have been melancholy at best and severely depressed at worst in the past month. It's a fact I've alluded to here on this blog. And though the deeply personal reasons are not ones I'll spell out, it's fair to say that there are times in a relationship when you discover that not only are you not on the same page, you are not even reading the same book. It's hard, painful. Even more so when the "problem" is one you can't avoid.
As I've struggled in this period, I have found myself researching fall marathons, contemplating an epic 50K in December, mapped my way out mile by mile. I planned longer runs, or tried to (stupid weather), with my group. I registered for an out-of-town half marathon before seeking the typical approval of family. The more distance I covered, the more I could be separated from life.
What I realized, though, is it's all a distraction - a Band-Aid - and not a solution. I can run a third marathon but I would be doing it to get back at someone, which is not a good headspace to take on 26.2. I can run a 50K but would the snowy, icy trails really by the ice bath my sore soul needed?
Though the answer was no, it didn't take away from the fact that I desperately needed something. And that's when fate, maybe, stepped in.
On a nearly forgotten Pinterest board, I pinned the Bourbon Chase as a bucket list race. The 200-mile relay takes teams of 12 through the Bourbon trail of Kentucky, with exchanges at the famous distilleries of the Bluegrass State. Mark and I once visited some of those distilleries, and that trip will always have fond memories. To see the area on foot, I knew, would be a once in the lifetime chance.
It's a chance my twitter BFF Alyse knew I wanted and when someone she knew needed female runners for an open mixed team, it was my name she gave. She knows me well and, when she did so, did it because she thought it would be a fun thing. Little did she know it would be more than a race to me - it would be hope.
The race would be something to look forward to, something that I wanted for me (even if it was filling other needs). It would be a race that wouldn't compromise everything without holding out either. It would be insurance that if life didn't go as planned that I still had something for me. Even if the race didn't pan out as the team captain had more women than he needed (lucky guy!), the thought of doing it would carry me through some dark days.
On Saturday morning, though, I got the official word: I am a member of the Pirates of the Bourbon Trail open mixed team and on Oct. 10, I will set off on my first leg through the gorgeous countryside. I will live out a dream.