Over a year ago, I signed up for the North Country Trail half marathon. And the race is finally here (tomorrow).

When I signed up, I assumed I would be able to use this race as an excuse to take a vacation to one of my favorite places in the world – northern LP Michigan.

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Yes! Michigan!

But with a new job, and very little vacation time available (and frankly not getting my act together to book anything, but let’s use the new job as an excuse), I’m heading up there today and heading home after the race tomorrow. I was hoping The Sailor could meet me in New Buffalo, MI on my way home and we could spend a night there and visit wineries or something, but the B&B’s require a 2-night stay, and the hotel I did find with vacancy was too expensive to justify it. So, no go on that.

So the vacation goal was adjusted. No biggie. Try again next year.

Given that this is my first trail race, my goals have always been to 1) finish and 2) not get injured.

Given recent events, I’ve added some new goals.

After my disastorous attempt at trail running earlier in the summer, not surprisingly, I have not been back on the trail.

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I assume the race course tomorrow will be well-marked and I won’t get lost, but luckily, another ginger runner and Ragnar teammate (read: matching outfits!) will be there with me and we’ll be sticking together. So at least if I get lost again, I won’t be alone, right?

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If we survived Ragnar and night running without getting lost, we can survive a well-established trail race, yes?    

But then news broke recently that a black bear attacked a jogger (heh, jogger) not too far from the race site. (I think in a neighboring county.) Eek. I’ve encountered deer on the trails, and those freak me out as it is (they are skittish and some have giant antlers), but worst case scenario, a bear could kill me. Best case, deep lacerations requiring surgery (as was the case of the jogger).

Hopefully there is safety in numbers, and a race with hundreds of runners (albeit a bit spread out – the event has a half, full and 50 miler option) will keep the bears away. Let’s hope.

So, my race goals have been adjusted to: 1) don’t get lost and 2) don’t get mauled by a bear. Let’s hope I succeed.