Yesterday, as I suffered through recovery from a grueling 18-mile run, I decided to load up my mountain bike and drive Riley and myself to Movil Maze, just north of Bemidji.
My first experience there – it’s a 1,250-acre forest with towering maples, oaks and birch – gave me flashbacks to last year’s trip to Oregon. Wide, groomed trails and the natural beauty grounded me with all that’s terrific about trail running and the outdoors.
It will serve as a place of solitude and training ground for the next big challenge in my athletic endeavors.
Just before noon today, I went home to let Riley out and log into my computer. My fingers were jittery and I felt nervousness and anxiety in the pit of my stomach. Would I be successful? Would the next chapter of my personal journey take shape – or would I be forced back to the drawing board to find out what lies ahead.
It all came down to a few minutes online – and the hope that I’d make the cutoff.
By the time I was done, though, it was confirmed – my registration was accepted into the Wisconsin Ironman through the general lottery. This represents more than a casual goal or expectation for me – it is the start of my journey to the extraordinary. I’ve been running marathons over and over, coming excruciating close to qualifying for the Boston Marathon, but I am ready for a new challenge.
This new journey will bring along many significant challenges. Adventures to be explored and discovered through a sense of newness and fascination that only a fledgling participant in a new discipline can experience.
It opens up new doors and avenues for me as a runner, cyclist, swimmer and above all else – a person. Let the journey begin.