Why I pulled out of a race the night before the run

A few years ago, after an overly dramatic and just as lengthy storm off a course, I swore that I would only run a race if my heart was in it. That day I ran 20k of a 50k course only to crack the shits, question my why and turn around and storm back to the start (yep past all the runners behind me!).

I had signed up for that race as a training run. I don’t recall the specifics, but my plan said run a long way and I really didn’t want to. So I signed up for this race, the Marysville 50k, to get the job done. Well if throwing a tantrum was the goal then I certainly achieved it.

So when I planned out my goals for 2021 this week, I signed up for the Warburton Trail fest 50k, and it would be my first run above 25k in 12 months (I hadn’t thought of that at the time). I booked some accomodation, posted it on all the socials and on little sleep and after a full on week of work I headed to Warburton.

I knew from the minute I pulled in to collect my bib that I didn’t want to be here. Then I got it and I was registered with Mac as my last name instead of my full name. Probably just an error with my phone autopopulating at registration but it was disappointing to know my result would not be under my name.

I headed to my accomodation. I didn’t want to be there. It smelt funny. It was loud and smelly and the curtains didn’t close to the lights outside. It made me uncomfortable and I’ve stayed in a lot of questionable establishments.

I wasn’t excited to do a flat lay or dig out my clothes, which I had just thrown all my trail gear in a bag (literally all of it) into a bag before I left.

At about 9 pm, I lay in the tiny single bed and googled the course. I looked at the map and photos from the year before. The trails were beautiful and I love the events put on my Tour De Trails (they are my favourite of the year) but I couldn’t find any excitement, not even that nervous flutter of the night before a race. So I got up, threw everything back into my bag, got in my car and left.

I had checked in less than 3 hours prior.

I drove in silence for most of the 2 hour drive home. I ran through lists in my head, mostly of what I was going to tell people about why I hadn’t run the race I said I was going to run. Excuse after excuse scrolled through my mind like an old school receipt. But I didn’t need the list, it didn’t matter, I just didn’t want to do it. The list was just lies. The fire wasn’t there and I couldn’t convince myself otherwise.

So here I am on Saturday morning, drinking coffee in my pyjamas and throwing the tennis ball for my dogs, instead of running around the beautiful trails of Warburton. I don’t have regrets or FOMO, so I know I made the right decision.

My heart wasn’t ready, my body wasn’t ready and I’m actually quite proud of myself that I recognised that and didn’t go out there just because I had told social media I said I would.

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