Labor Day is more than a fun weekend, it is a date on the calendar with significant meaning around transition. End of summer. Back to school. Weather getting crisp and colder. Days getting shorter and nights getting longer. Fall is coming, and the year that until now still seemed fresh and new suddenly sees its end on the distant horizon. Yep, the end is coming.
For most ultrarunners winter and spring was all about training and preparing for a big summer race. The first half of the year had so much focus and promise. And now… it is fall. Fall. Even the name of the season implies pain and loss.
As fall comes into view for me, I am set up for a big letdown. This past summer was great. I had a life-defining experience in a big race – and I was able to share it with many loved ones who were right there with me. Then the celebrations ensued, numerous fun and memorable summer adventures with friends and family. If there was a theme it was water –
good times were had at beaches, rivers, lakes and even swimming pools and hot tubs. I know I can’t match this summer’s experiences for their “epic special-ness.”
But I am looking forward in a fresh way to having some new experiences this fall. Without all the focus and excitement of spring and summer, the fall presents an opportunity for some new and different things I’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t fit in. New events, different sports, traveling to new places and taking up a new hobby are cued up in the weeks ahead. With a solid training base from the first half of the year, I’m also throwing in a new but intriguing ultra I’ve never done – with no specific training.
I’m setting no goals and feeling no pressure, just doing things that I’ve always wanted to do but didn’t have time for. In fact, I think this fall is going to be pretty dang wonderful too.
I’ve been inspired by some other ultrarunning friends who had great big summers and now are also approaching fall as a time to do some fun and new things. Always drawn to extremes, one friend has signed up for a 200-mile race, another has decided to see how fast they can run a mile and a third is taking on a new race distance to get a qualifier for a “real biggie” next year. Other friends who have had setbacks or recent injuries are working their way back to full health and are shooting for PR’s in a big race this November, while another is going to do a trail run/open-water swim event. A common theme for all them – whenever they talk about what’s ahead for this fall they really light up.
Fall is a great time of year. The opportunities are out there but the heat, both literally and figuratively, is off. Pick one (or two) and enjoy the fall!
May your every run be a great one,