I'm writing this enroute to Portland, Maine to take place in a four day race, Untamed New England Adventure Race. I'm psyched to be under way but as expected, the last couple of days getting ready were tough psychologically - as the race approaches i always seem to wonder why i'm voluntarily leaving my wife and two wonderful boys to go and endure sleep deprivation and other types of suffering in the middle of the wilderness. I know the answer - if i decided not to go i'd wake up tomorrow itching for adventure and pain, and be unsettled until something that would provide this pair of experiences was on my schedule. But just because i know, doesn't keep the emotions from coming.
I'm also excited though and very very keen to go hard. I've been haunted by dreams of the race during my last three sleeps - with all of the dreams sharing a common characteristic - i end up disappointed and wanting to go faster as a team. Not sure what these mean, and i'm hesitant to attribute much signifigance to them (my wife thinks i should be more attentive to things like this), but i'm hoping that it is just my way of dealing with the nerves and doubts that inevitably (and probably for good reason) come with the territory when one is about to embark on such a challenge.
I feel ready, or at least ready enough. The tough part will be mental. I know i can most likely physically keep going for the duration - at least at a speed that is acceptable in the context of such a long race. My biggest fear is really the poison ivy that i hear lurks in the wilds of northern Maine that form the bulk of the course.... i'm deadly allergic to the stuff and every time i get a bad case swear that i will never put myself at such risk of exposure again. And yet here I am, about to race through it. I've convinced myself that this time will be different - i've got a poison ivy suit to don every time we need to do serious bushwhacking - a strategy that worked for me when i was planning a race in territory rife with the urishol laden 'leaves of three'. But even as i'm writing this i wonder at my resolve, and my eternal struggle with delayed gratification. In the moment, my need for speed - my racing mind - will probably take over.
We'll see how it goes. As with all things, time will tell.