Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Road Not Taken

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler …”

In stark contrast to my Recent Training sessions with friends, my 2014 Racing Schedule is a decidedly solo endeavor.   While most of my running friends, and training buddies, will be doing both the New England and New Hampshire Grand Prix Race Series, my primary focus for this year will be on longer races. Specifically Ultras!

“… Long I stood and looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, and having perhaps the better claim, because it was grassy and wanted wear;  Though as for that the passing there had worn them really about the same…”

In previous seasons, my racing schedule (much like my friends) has mostly revolved around My Running Club’s two major race series – the NEGP and NHGP.  In fact, I’ve run over 30 NHGP races and 40 NEGP races in the 16 years since I began my running career.  So, I am certainly no stranger to these great and well-attended race events.

“…And both that morning equally lay in leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day...”

This year, instead of running those big races like I've typically done in the past, I’ve decided to attempt something very different.  Building off of the success I had at the Stonecat 50, and the fun I had during last year’s Summer of 48, I’m going to be spending 2014 seeing just how far I can push myself and testing the limits of what I think I can do.

“… Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back…”

Who knows how this little experiment of mine will turn out?  I do know that I love running and racing on trails.  And I do know that I have a certain knack for running great distances without tiring.  So it seems, at least for now, that my immediate running future lies more in long trail races and than it does in short road races.

“… I shall be telling this with a sigh, somewhere ages and ages hence…”

It does make me sad sometimes to know that I’m missing out on spending time with my friends at the races we used to run together.  Particularly on the 16th of March, when 52 of my teamates will be heading down to New Bedford for the Half Marathon and I’ll be up here doing 3.5 mile laps in the Woods of Andover - for 6 hours.

“… Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by,  And that has made all the difference.”

But, even in those rare moments of sadness, I still feel like I’m doing the right thing by running a less-traveled path and seeing just how far it will take me.   And, I know that my friends will be there in spirit, every kick-ass step of the way!

~ Poem excepts from "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost.

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