It’s been seven weeks since I was diagnosed with stress fracture. Two weeks since I got rid of the robotic boot. And one week since I started missing running. And here I was. Back in Bergamo. Exactly one year later after Gran Trail Orobie.
And again on the start line. Wondering what I’m actually doing there. Ready to take the bib number off and walk back home. All the doubts. All the worries. Unable to make decision. Because none of the decisions seems good. To run? Such a short time after injury? Without training? Without knowing if it healed by now? Or not to run. Give up and surrender.
There is a fine line between stupidity and challenge. The exact fine line I keep on crossing all the time. But suddenly it wasn’t about going to the right or going to the left. I decided to follow that line instead. Ahead. And so I did. Challenged by my own stupidity.
After last year’s GTO I really wanted to come back and run the best race of my life. But I got spot for CCC which takes place month after GTO, so decided to sign up for Urban Trail instead. And race it. Little did I knew… came mid June and I was diagnosed with stress fracture and cancelled all my remaining races for 2017. But Bergamo. Why? Because I’m stubborn? Because I’m not smart? Because I wanted to try? Because 20k race with 700m D+ sounded “easy” to my ultra trail ears? Because DNF suddenly sounded better than DNS?
So here I was. Definitely not racing. Not sure if capable of running. Not sure if I will be able to make it for the first cut off. But I had Michael by my side. And I found a playing card in front of the expo. And however random it sounds, cards always bring good luck to me.
Felling like I lost my mind, I pinned the bib number on my t-shirt, flower in my hair, headtorch in the vest, laced up and walked to the start line. Running into the night. Watching the story unfold. It wasn’t about reaching the finish line. About being capable to run 20k. It was about getting through without pain. Without causing more damage. Without hurting myself. 7 kilometres in. And I can still hear myself saying out loud yet quietly “oh how much I love running”. Pure joy. Freedom. Freedom of movement. Freedom of love. Freedom of running. Freedom of being me.
Bergamo Urban Trail starts at 8:30 pm on the stadium in town, then it is cruising through the streets, into the park, up and down cobbled roads, beautiful dark paths through the woods. The atmosphere, volunteers, people, check points, up the stairs to Citta Alta and then the one and only finish line. red carpet, smiles, beer. Surprised. Proud. Happy.
And no, I’m not back to running as of yet. No, I still won’t run Sierre-Zinal nor CCC. But yes, I happened to sign up for a big race end of this year. But, I won’t tell you which one. As things that are really important to me, are not to be shared with many. Just like the fact that I knew I will run Bergamo Urban Trail. And it’s been seven weeks since I knew that. Stubborn. Yet again.