I got an email yesterday that the race pictures had been posted on Facebook. I’m not in any of them! This is great. I’m also in zero pictures from Wild Duluth and for that I am grateful, I don’t want to relive that. I don’t mind race pix and generally am not too critical of myself in them, but I don’t mind if I’m not in a photoset. I guess I can file that under “Good Things?” The rest are below.
Mental game. I drove down there despite the snow freaking me out. I got up and ran despite an hour of sleep. I didn’t quit even though it would have been so easy to pack it in at 25K or 37.5K. I didn’t get frustrated with running the same sections over and over again, or getting lapped by many runners. Even when my watch died and I kinda gave up a teeny bit, I still kept pushing as best as I could.
General fitness. I didn’t have the training cycle I’d have liked, with a cold and several down weeks due to travel. But I still managed to pull out a 50K that I’m proud of, and that I feel like I ran fairly well. Sub 8 hours looks like it is in play for me next year, with a dry trail and a bit more strength training. Oh, and if my watch doesn’t die so I can keep better track of where I’m at.
Boldness. I ran another race where I’d be close to the cutoffs (on paper, thanks to my great race at Chippewa Moraine 50K), and there were also very few entrants. Only 21 people finished, so it was my highest numerical placing at an ultra ever, despite being DFL. I was a little worried that everyone else who ran it would be fast, and I’d be the only one out there for like 3 hours. Not so.
Sleep. I don’t know how to fix this. It’s a problem whether I’m at home or away, whether I forgo caffeine or not, whether it’s a race I’ve done before or a new one, no matter what I eat, no matter how much I try to meditate/relax/distract my mind. I am going to just have to figure out how to power through it.
Nutrition. I could have benefited from eating a gel each lap on top of the cookies I ate. I probably also need to stop eating cookies at races, but I really like cookies and I haven’t had any stomach issues when eating them. They had Nilla Wafers at this race, and those are SO easy to eat. Not wanting to eat a gel because I don’t want to take my gloves off or get them sticky is kind of dumb. Maybe I need to look beyond gels.
I don’t really have that many Bad Things because I wasn’t planning on running this race and didn’t train specifically for it. If I were to train specifically for it, I would definitely make sure to do more long runs where I was running continuously. I didn’t realize how hard it would be on my body to run a flatter, faster ultra. Between the increased amount of running and the 2.5 hour car ride home almost immediately after the race, I was hurting badly the next day. It was worth it, though! It took a weight off my shoulders and dispersed a cloud of gloom that had been hanging over me since I DNFed at Wild Duluth. I can go into the Holiday 5K Season confident with how my endurance season ended.