It has always been intriguing to me how solitary endurance athletes tend to be. Sure there are good friendships, people we see regularly when we are out training, and familiar faces that we see at races and events. When you put the casual relationships aside endurance athletes are solitary creatures. The majority of the time we train, we do it alone. When we race, we race alone. Many times when we go out to recreate or cross train, we do it alone. The exception to the solitude comes to has one exception; dogs. My dog, Pedro, is the most reliable and trusted training partner I could ever hope for. Still, when it comes down to it, even in the company of Pedro, I am alone when I am out training.
This whole post comes from a disappointment I experienced this past weekend. I was planning on racing the Grand Targhee Randonee Race on Saturday, which I was unable to do. The primary reason why is because of the team nature of the race, racers are required to have partners. I could not find a partner. I tried everything that I could, I called favors, I called strangers, I even begged, but to no avail. I was alone. So in place of a race I went backcountry skiing near Pebble Creek, alone. I contemplated on the reasons behind my solitary nature and as I pushed and pushed to near exhaustion, I found myself smiling, the smile got bigger and bigger as I realized I liked the feeling. I found delight in being alone, being self sufficient, self reliant, depending and waiting only for myself. It seems a little selfish to say, but I think I prefer to be alone when I am out, no one to wait for, or to wait for me, no one to complain or to complain to (other than Pedro who always smiles back!) This is not to say that I don't enjoy the company of other people, I really do and I enjoy running and skiing with other people especially when I have the rare opportunity to do it with my wife. But I do have to have my time, it allows me time to reflect, think, forget, to go to my sanctuary. It is good for my soul to be alone, I find clarity when I go there by myself.