Short Version (for those of you who are only reading this blog because you are putting off sending out your Christmas cards)
It poured ALL day. I ran 50+ miles. I complained. I chafed. I quit.
Now go send out your cards!
As most of you know, a few years back, I took an extended break after Hubz’s accident (I warned you this was the loooooooong version). When I finally decided to race again, I was scared and a basket case (don’t say it – I know what you’re thinking). But, after a few good races, some wins, and getting back on the US Team last year, I felt like I had wrestled my mental gremlins to the ground, removed their spleens, and could move on.
This year started out well. I did Born to Run 100k, got 2nd, and felt good about it because it was a “trail-ish” race. But, it left my feet messed up, and I had to drop from WS100 – an 8 year dream. All was fine, though. Worlds would be my big race. I was ready. I trained. I slept in my uniform. I ate Wheaties.
And then I fell and my race was over, just like that. And when I got home, the gremlins had healed from their spleenectomies and were back in residence in my head.
No matter, I told myself, I will run Javelina 100 and HAVE FUN. But, I forgot the fact that 100 milers are never fun. Things happen. You feel bad. You hate it a lot of the time. I quit at mile 78.
But still no matter. My redemption race was just around the corner – Desert Solstice 24 Hour. But I wasn’t excited. Something was wrong with my brain. I still loved to run, but had gotten back to that place where I hated to race. I hated the pain, and the suffering, and the sheer amount of time I had to be on the course. And I hated that I hated it. I wanted to go back to loving it – loving the challenge, loving the push.
So, when it rained ALL day, the gremlins were doing cheers in my brain – “S. U. C. K. What’s that spell? SUCK! This sucks!” And eventually I agreed with them. When I realized I wasn’t going to beat my PR from last year, so I wouldn’t improve my standing on the Team qualifier roster, I decided I’d had enough. Now, if I hadn’t DNF’d the 2 prior races, this wouldn’t really bother me. Sixty percent of the runners in this race ended up quitting because it was just so miserable. But, this makes 3 races in a row for me. The gremlins are winning.
Is it just that I need a new and different type of challenge? Another break? A lobotomy?
I really have no idea at this point. But I’m going to look up brain surgeons when I’m done with this post.
* * * *
Now, for the good news.
Despite the horrendous conditions, 5 tough-as-nails people DID run for the full 24 Hours, and smoked it!
My buddies, Debbie Horn and Joe Fejes were simply phenomenal out there! Debbie ran 131+ (putting her back on the Team qualifying list), and Joe won the event with 157+ (an almost 10 mile PR!).
Nick Coury (139+) and Jennifer Aradi (128+) both had PRs and were so inspirational to watch. They are amazing runners, and it was so much fun to share the course with them both.
Charlotte Vasarhelyi ran 115+ and re-qualified for the Canadian National Team. She was so steady all night – it didn’t even look like she noticed the rain. I think I need a little mental toughness training from her.
In the 100 mile race, 4 people finished, including the remarkable Pam Smith, who ran a 15:01. No, that is not a typo. She is a fantastic runner, placing 5th IN THE WORLD in the 100k this year. And she never even looked like she was working that hard – amazing!
* * * *
As I said on Friday, no matter how this race ended up, I knew it would be fun to see all my friends, and to watch these phenomenal athletes race. Watching Jon Olsen, Ian Sharman and Michael Arnstein blaze around the track was a once-in-a-lifetime event for me. In a point to point race, I would never get to see them because they would have left me 3 strides in. Here, they were captive, so a slow seal like me got a front row seat.
So, even if I get the lobotomy, I will make sure I have the doc leave the part of my brain intact that lets me appreciate all the wonderful people I’ve come to know through this sport and their amazing abilities.
Hmmm…maybe I should look into competitive badmitton .