When I realized the date yesterday, and how could I miss it with the world celebrating the "longest" day of the year, it dawned on me that it has been a month since I left Massanutten unsuccessful in my attempt to return to the meadow and cross that famous finish line.
I spent some time in the days after the race checking out other options to still make 2013 my 100 mile debut year but with concerns for my knee those hours were merely a means to use the energy and excitement I still had for wanting to have "done it." I found myself seriously considering a looped 100 in PA in the middle of July only to present myself with a dozen reasons why I couldn't do it.
All this left me with a question I had been asked ringing through my head,
"Why do you want Massanutten?"
Biking Sherpa had asked this question while we filled miles with endless chatter. She didn't exactly want an answer when she asked it. She had wanted an explanation for not only her but for, maybe everyone who clicked refresh dozens of times that beautiful Saturday in May. She wanted to know why another 100, any 100, couldn't be worked into the fall schedule and I could have that buckle.
The reason to me is simple, I want the real deal. I don't want to run around in circles to say that I can run 100 miles. Honestly the distance isn't the attraction. I'm drawn to those climbs. I want to see what is on top, around the next corner, down the next trail. I want to know those rocks just like I know my favorite country routes that I grew my running on. Wanting Massanutten is a little like being able to get any boyfriend in your school but wanting to date the teacher.
I think back to what drew me to wanting Massanutten when this 100 mile dream first started. I want to be honest about my reasons so I will admit that in choosing MMT I was making a decision based a bit on a preconceived idea of just how far I could reach...and couldn't. I was giving myself such a big challenge that if I failed, the mere attempt would be a success. In that way, it felt safe to want such a lofty goal. Another thing that drew me to MMT was my running club. The Virginia Happy Trails Running Club. This is a group of the best people I have ever met. In my trail running world, they are the in crowd. But in my case I felt like the kid always picked last and I wanted to show this amazing group of people that I did belong on their dodge ball team at recess. But there was one other thing rattling around in my head as I was encouraged by my trail brethren to do MMT, it was the thought that I actually could do it. I didn't need loops or a flat course to join the club. I simply could complete Massanutten. I believed I could.
As it turned out, I didn't quite make it. MMT slipped through my fingers - this time. But I still believe I can and I will. Now MMT is to me like many of my double day runs when I run a certain number of miles plus a point five. I've run this way for years to leave something to finish. MMT is now for me that half mile I left undone this morning, I don't have a choice but to finish it. And how could I start another 100 before I finish this one.