Monday, October 1, 2007
Wow, what a day Saturday was! I looked forward to the day, trained for it and pined for it when overwhelmed at work when all I wanted to do for weeks is the freedom of running hard for hours at a time with nothing else to worry about!
Early Saturday morning my friend Perry Edinger( in the state briefly from his home in AZ) drove over to the start in Damascus-me in my down jacket and Perry with chattering teeth as we tried to stay warm for the 42ish degree start temperature.
I wanted to run in 8ish hours. Even with my inconsistentcy in hard workouts due to hamstring flareups-I still thought I was well trained for a "go consistent on the ups and flats and fly the downhills" because rarely does my hammie bother me on the down hills ('cept for when I stumble)...
The first 10 miles went fast-being fully on pace for an 8 hour finish...yet a stumble here and there and stomache "issues" appearing after 4 more miles...the last 36 miles of the run seemed more of a contest to see how many pit stops I could make. I didn't feel sick-just unsettled and quickly ran out of tp...so rump soreness from prickly leaves quickly added to the frustration of not being able to run well. The harder I ran -especially the more I pounded the wonderful technical downhills-the jostling in my belly would demand a pit stop. So the slower I ran-the less stopping had to happen. I have only had this phoenomena 3x before..out of 50+ ultras...each during 100 mile runs somewhere around mile 85ish...so go figure-what was going on?
It seemed that all day long I heard runners just ahead of me and as I would look forward to catching up-ooopps-time to take a break. Sigh. Yet I was not having a bad day-just a frustrating one! Perry reported having a cruddy day-legs leaving him limp because of too many previous miles...makes sense-the Iron Mountain is a toughie-runnable for sure-yet still makes you work and gets your attention and I think 150+ mile weeks all summer that Perry packed in finally caught up and made him slow way down. Perry and I chatted briefly with 8 miles left to go-he planned to walk some-I didn't know where the next woman was, didn't want to be passed-and although I lost my shot at 8 hours and then 8.5 long ago-I was still in range for my next goal of 9 hours...I knew Bethany Patterson ran in a little over 9 hours the previous year and I wanted a shot a the CR-And my ego wanted to come in at least under an hour past my goal time!
Fortunatley my body cooperated and only demanded 2 more pit stops and pretty soon the descent down Mock Holler came sooner than expected. I knew I needed to hit pavement and 1 mile left to go my 8:50. I got there in 8:46 and motored (by end of 50 mile ultrarunning standards anyway!)...crossed some roads, shared the VA creeper trail with dozens of famllies and kids on bikes and trikes-almost tripping over a few in my eagerness to not be stuck in "traffic"...I pulled in to the Damascus Gazebo at 8:57:16...relieved, tired and sort of content...Happy not to have been passed by another woman..and to have run sub 9:00...yet not satisfied...
I quickly put on more clothes, drank some Clif Recovery and was settiling down to drink water and stretch when Perry hurried across the finish...Great job...I know he was bummed-yet I still cheered-he has been through alot this year-and has pushed his body far...I don't know him well-but celebrate his small part in my life (and the fact he let his awesome kitty Mama Grey move in with George and I when he moved this past April). We didn't stick around for long-I was feeling puny due to lack of calories over the day-and Perry needed to get up at 3am in order to drive to Charlotte to fly back to AZ to be back at work Sunday night....
Now a few days later, I am able to articulate my lack of satisfaction...not so much due to "stomache issues"...but because I didn't push myself as much as I hoped to. I wanted to see how my hammie would do. Yes it was sore from some stumples and my approach to hills since the injury is different..yet I really want to to be strong again...and I'd hoped to use this race as a tool to see how I am doing? I queston myself-did I subconsciously create the belly thing from having to not face my hammie? Am I a "has been" who now makes excuses? I really can't be sure! Because the stomach thing is not common with me I have a hard time figuring out what happened? Was it physical or a physical effect of my psyche?
I did enjoy Saturday-and am pleased with the "win" (and awesome finishers shirt)...yet I think I will be unsettled until I can push as hard as I can w/o being dumb and see what happens-stomache? Fear? Hammie? Sigh. My personal mystery continues!
If you are reading this -make plans to come to Damascus for the Iron Mountain 50M next year. I can honestly say that based on terrain, challenge,variety, placement of aid, race director and volunteers, that it is easily on my top 5 list of favorite ultras. It is worth traveling to. It is tough-yet runnable- And If not tough enough-run it faster! I really hope to next year! Actually-I'll keep things in perspective-last year I was still so injured I worked aid stations for the whole morning and went to the gym in the evening to work out on the elliptical trainer-because I was still having trouble running fast enough to break a sweat!
The next day (Sunday) one of my friends RD'd a new off road duathalon 30min driving from where we live (Dark Mountain Challenge). I participated in the 4 mile run, and 14 mile bike ride to support her and her event...There were 26 participants and I think I finished 3rd from last! Yet it was a good slow motion day for me. (I am sooo scared on a mtn bike I don't think I'd have been much improved even without Iron Mtn day before!)