Bless me ultra-runners, it has been two and a half weeks since my first 50-mile race, and boy has life flown by!
There has been little time to recover after the Run Rabbit Run 50-mile race, as the following weekend I ran in the North Face Endurance Challenge Series trail marathon relay as part of the November Project Summit in Park City, Utah. Then just last weekend, I moved my cache of sports equipment, tools, and running shoes from Denver to Golden, as a means to live and breath the trails that I dream about nightly. Oh yeah, I moved my bed and a few dishes, as well.
Given the whirlwind few weeks that I’ve had, recollecting on the RRR50 race is a bit spotty. This lack of detailed recollection is also due to the fact that the race itself was less than memorable. A little bit of this is due to the monotony of the trail, and another bit from the daze that I was in for most of the second half of the run.
Strangely, the reflection upon my first 50-mile race was less than ecstatic. The gist: It was OK… bearable… fine. This is not exactly the reaction I crave after a race! Don’t get me wrong, the race organization, weekend festivities in Steamboat, and the fervor surrounding the RRR100 race were all fantastic. In the race itself, however, it was a dig-deep grind over a long and lonesome 50-mile course – not many highlights, expected long low spots – but overall this distance was missing the race experience that I so yearn for.
Part of me wishes I had a more enthusiastic post-race reflection, while the other part is happily accepting that this is simply not my distance… yet. In many ways, my reaction is to be expected – competing at a unfamiliar distance for the first time, 19-miles further than I’ve ever run – I should be happy just to finish right? Yes and no! There is a tipping point while trying something new, when you either realize that it’s a practice you want to continue developing, or that you just aren’t committed/prepared/knowledgeable enough to delight in the new experience, as others may.
That my friends, is self-discovery. Realize what you want – find what makes you happy – and pursue it.
Self-discovery aside, this is supposed to be a race read, right? The bottom line is that I was not fully prepared (base training, long distance mileage, etc) to compete at the 50-mile distance. For this reason, I am in no hurry to get back to the starting line of a 50-miler. The reason that I can say this confidently, (not just because I had a plain-jane experience) is that I looooove the 50K race distance! Over the last two years of trail racing, I have built up the endurance for the 50K distance (#endurancechangestime), and am confident that I can race the distance from start to finish. I have many goals, tactics, and landscapes remaining to be explored in the 50K distance, which I plan to focus on next year.
It is satisfying to find acceptance in your running mentality. You don’t always have to be following the masses, but rather respecting your current ability and focusing on exploring your talent within that boundary. Progress will come with experience and mastery will be achieved with consistency.
Boom, I should’ve been a poet.