Monday, September 16, 2013

Running in a Rut

Do you remember the first time you ran a big race, or, if you are not a runner, the first time you embarked on something challenging?  With weeks of preparation behind you, you may have toed the line ready to set out on a brand new journey with no more expectations than those set upon yourself; your own personal goals.  And when you finished and you know you gave it your all that was all that mattered.  Not the place, or your time, but that you had accomplished some great feat.  Sometimes I wish I could go back to that.

Fast forward now to this last weekend.  I toed the line of The Rut 50K in Big Sky, Montana feeling a bit off.  For me, the race was over before the elk horn even sounded, and as we all took off, I watched in apathy as the lead group distanced itself from me.  The week leading up to the event I came down with a slight re-occurrence of my good friend mononucleosis, which left me feeling fatigued even though I was tapering like crazy. I just wanted to run this race hard, but it seemed like the universe had other ideas. I thought of not running the race, but once you have gotten the time off from work, driven all the way up to Montana, and payed for the thing, there is not really an option of backing out.  So my hands were tied, and I thought that I could probably just hold on for a solid finish.  Well, that wasn't totally the case.  The course was spectacular, and without much adieu Mike Wolf and Mike Foot throw the racers into the deep end.  Within the first mile you are already faced with a steep single track trail that requires nothing short of total hands on the knees, nose to the ground euro-hiking.  Here I found that I could not muster up much energy on the uphills, and resolved to make up for it on the downs.  This was going perfectly, and I was having a blast on the technical downhill until I took a wrong step and SHAZZAMED  my heel on the pointiest rock I could find.  As if to add insult to injury, from then on even the downhills sucked, and I had to change my foot strike for the remainder of the time.  This only compounded my apathy towards actually racing; then and there at mile 4 or 5 I decided I had no chance.  So I just plodded along for the rest of the race.  The course was nothing short of amazing.  There was so much awesome single track and the off trail ascent and descent of Lone Peak on exposed ridge line with howling winds in a chilly 30 degrees was exhilarating.   It is indeed a proper mountain race. 

So now I sit here, back at home, thinking about my performance.  I think about what I could have done differently in the months prior, or in the race itself, and I wish, like other times in life, that I could have a re-do.  I am tired of coming back from races with an excuse for why I didn't do well, and only wish that I could go out and perform like I know I should be able to.  I guess all I can do is to keep trying and hopefully figure out this racing thing eventually.   Please don't give up on me yet.  

I apologize for such a depressing blog post.  Here are some pictures of the trip to Montana with my Mom that will hopefully cheer it up.


Mmm, Birthday creation from Jess: Brownies topped with peanut butter.
Yellowstone Lake
This guy was not as happy to see me as I was to see him.
Came home to a package from Chacos containing my new custom sandals. Check it out at http://www.chacos.com/US/en/MyChacos

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