I quit writing a number of weeks back. Well, I didn’t quit writing altogether, but I quit posting here because I felt like I needed to focus on other projects. It’s been good, but I find myself in a place of needing to write something that belongs here. So I’m back.
I did a Ragnar Relay this weekend. It was a trail run, not a road race. It was awesome but it didn’t end the way I’d hoped. After threatening rains all week, we ended up having a beautiful Friday. I ran one leg in the afternoon and another around midnight. After that leg, I curled up in my tent and slept soundly until my phone woke me up with emergency weather alerts. Flash flooding in the hill country.
In my tent, I could tell it was raining hard, and I was concerned about our runner out on the course. She was running her nearly 8-mile loop in the dark. It was the longest leg, and the rain couldn’t have been helping. I wondered how she was doing and if the race would continue. I made my way out of my tent into my team’s community tent where I heard voices of my team members. We were noticing that other people were packing tents and leaving. We weren’t quite ready to do that, but we thought about it.
The long and short of it is that we stopped running. More specifically, I stopped running. Our runner on the nearly 8-mile leg finished, and our next runner, who was to do the 3-mile leg, decided she could handle a short run in the rain. We all pretty much agreed we needed to stop, but our runner after the 3-miler decided she wanted to get her 5-mile loop done too, so off she went. That left four of us who hadn’t run our third and final legs, and I would be up next for my nearly 8 mile loop.
I had zero interest in running that long in the rain until the person in front of me took off onto the course. Then I didn’t want to be the one to stop us, but I also didn’t want to continue. I was hearing that the trails were mostly fine and that the rain was making conditions more pleasant in that it was cooler than it had been on Friday. But would I want to be out there for nearly two hours getting poured on? Our 3-mile runner took a spill. Odds were good that I would too. I’m probably the least sure-footed of my entire team. And what about the roads? They were getting worse by the moment.
My parents had arrived early that morning with breakfast tacos for the team. It took them longer than it should have to arrive because the conditions were bad. And worse, I had seen Dad pulling another car out of the mud in the parking lot where hundreds of cars sat, including mine. My parents voiced their concerns about the conditions, and I couldn’t disagree. Heavy rains in the hill country can be scary. Dave and I learned that firsthand back in May when we made a treacherous drive home after a wedding was cut short due to unexpected storms and flash flooding.
So I decided not to run.
I’ve never made that decision before. And more than four hours later, back at home, freshly showered and fully unpacked, I don’t feel good about it. I know it was the right thing to do. The rain is still coming down and hard. But I can’t wrap my head around the idea of DNF. Did not finish. I did not finish. I’m not okay with that. I won’t make that decision again.