Wednesday, December 18, 2019
Sometimes, running can be the best feeling in the world. And sometimes you can put one foot in front of the other wondering what in the hell you were thinking when you started this. My ultra journey has been a combination of lots of feelings. I’ve been doing obstacle course races for 10 years now and wanted to try a new challenge. A 30-mile Spartan race seemed like the perfect idea after a couple beers and completing a very successful 13-mile Spartan race… I knew I wasn’t going to do it alone, so after convincing my husband he also wanted to run an ultra marathon, we signed up for a Charm City Run training group!
We had so much fun over the summer and fall running with our group on trails, doing road races together, and toughing it out through some really hard track workouts. The picture above is me at the end of Charles Street 12 after running it with a couple other people from our training group. We laughed, we pushed each other, we had fun.
Cut to this picture:
Not fun. Pure misery. Our race took place 2 weeks ago somewhere in the middle of North Carolina. Still not sure exactly where I was. But I know that it was at an equestrian center and most of the mud was probably not mud at all… But I digress! We picked up our packets the night before all excited to lay out our flat runner and get ready for the next day. After checking the weather for the umpteenth time, we confirmed that it was in fact going to rain all day but that it should be in the mid 50s. Not too shabby. Some might even call it perfect running weather.
The morning of the race I chugged my pre-workout, watched the elite racers get started, and then lined up to start with the regular folk. The first 14 miles were a lot of fun. I successfully climbed the rope, made it over a couple really tall walls, fell off the monkey bars because of how wet they were from the rain but was able to laugh it off. By mile 15 it was no longer a light rain, it was POURING. And the trail was hard. And it was slippery. And I stopped having fun.
By miles 16 we got to the halfway point, where we had been able to drop a bag. Dry socks and a peanut butter and honey sandwich helped me feel a little more human. We headed out to do our second lap. By now everything was wet and we were running through 6 to 12 inch deep mud the whole time. My husband was smart enough to stay just far enough in front of me so I couldn’t complain to him the whole time. I contemplated dropping out of the race about 297 times during the second half. I was cold. I was wet. I wasn’t having fun anymore.
The funny thing was, that at no point did I doubt that I was capable of finishing. I felt strong, I still had life left in my legs, and I knew that if I wanted to I’d be able to cross the finish line. There’s no chance I would have felt that way if I had trained for this race on my own. All of that credit goes to my coaches for making sure I was prepared to handle the miles and the terrain on race day. In the end, I decided the public shame of announcing to the Instagram world that I had dropped out of the race wasn’t worth it and I finished! So thankful for all of the love and support I had from my Charm City Run Family.