Since getting the idea to run the 2012 Death Race (in December 2011), jumping into training in the middle of Canadian winter (in January 2012) and signing up for the 125km race (in February 2012), so much has changed.
Mentally: I’m a new person. Which is super awesome because I never really felt I needed improvements in this area. I’ve always thought I was mentally tough, thought of myself as a ‘runner,’ and was happy with the handful of marathons I ran. Training for the past few months with the guidance of a super dope coach has changed my perspective on what I’m capable of. I used to spend months training for one 42km marathon, now I cover that length on a regular Sunday like it ain’t no thang. I can’t believe my own strength and I’m excited to see how this summer pans out.
Physically: I’m a new person. I run with a stronger stride, It takes a good few hours to tire out my legs, and I feel capable of keeping up with the super-talented-speedy-and-accomplished ultra-runners who have so graciously encouraged me to tag along with them. Running up Moose Mountain a few weeks ago on a Wednesday night was one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever had. To get to the top (well, pseudo-top…there was not enough light to go allll the way) and feel energized was a turning point for me. Tumbling down step after step after step crunching through the snow and leaping over (actually…into) puddles literally had me feeling giddy.
I have one injury nagging me which I’m still working through. An inflamed IT band which has been the bane of my existence for a month or so. Thanks to the injury I have rediscovered just how hot I can make the one-piece, swim-cap, and goggles look (not hot at all, in case you’re wondering). I’m hoping the injury will go away for good soon.
Running is often a sufferfest and I’ve certainly had a decent share of experience with this. The very first time a friend took me on a 4 hour run on Goat Creek Trail outside Banff, I clearly remember thinking I might die. I was trying to explain how I felt and the only thing that came out was “I think I’ve been hit by a truck.” But we kept running. And I didn’t die, I didn’t throw up, I didn’t even cry. I DID collapse safely on in the hallway once I was back home but I felt like that dramatic gesture was a well deserved one.
The suffering has changed me the most. Getting through it, knowing it is temporary, and knowing the sense of accomplishment that I feel afterwards is what is driving me to this 50km race tomorrow. I’ll go at my own pace, I’ll stop to eat (often), I’ll stop to cry (only if absolutely necessary), I’ll stop if a wild animal appears in front of me (let’s hope not), but I’ll finish it.
It’s hard to believe I am psyching myself up to run only 50km… this is just one step towards my ultimate goal – the 125km Death Race. I know for many ultra-runners a 50km race ain’t no thang. Maybe one day I’ll feel that way too. But for now, it’s a huge step, a big victory, and hopefully a sign of many long races to come. I’ve got a song to repeat in my head when I am feeling down during the race. I’m out in the woods, running, and my problems are not real problems. It’s good to remember: “These are the good times in your life. So put on a smile, and it’ll be alright”
Here goes nothing. Or should I say, here goes everything?
PS – If it rains at this race because I posted this video, I’m gonna smash something.
image via Blackfoot Ultra Facebook page