Rocky and Reflection

Texas was not as warm as I hoped. But the sun was out and I was not one of the 700+ lunatics outs there running 50 or 100 miles. I mean lunatics with nothing but love and respect.

I was in Huntsville to crew John in the 50 and pace/crew JB in the 100. Besides me, there was Ban Ben, Sophia, Rob and Ian to help crew and pace the runners from KC. Danny and his family were also part of the fray.

Danny and JB ran the first 2 loops together. Unfortunately, blisters got the best of Jenn and she dropped at 60. I wish I could show you pictures. It took 2 medics over an hour to lance her blisters and tape her feet at mile 55, just so she could make it back to the start/finish. Danny had troubles of his own and dropped at 75.

John didn't escape unscathed. What he thought was water turned out to be banana-flavored HEED and caused some GI issues. HEED be damned, he finished in 8:45, a 26 minute PR.

I was glad to help where I could and I met a few very interesting characters. But overall, I think it was a rough race for all the runners. There is no such thing as an easy ultra.
With the race and the recent passing of my birthday, I've been reflecting on racing and life in general. While waiting for John to come in at lap 2, I overheard a conversation about a bad-ass ultra runner. Several years ago, she fell before mile 40, breaking her nose and cracking some bones in her wrist. She got up and finished well, still covered in blood. While I am awed by the people who can do this and I have great respect for those who can consistently run 100 mile races, I don't think that is me. Heartland put me in a world of hurt and the benefits of that race didn't outweigh the costs and sacrifices.
The morning after dropping, JB stated if you are going to do ultras, you have to love every minute of the training. Because there are so many unknowns on race day, and the races last so long, that there will always be a good chance you won't finish. If finishing is the only thing you enjoy, ultras may not be that rewarding. I agree with her. To be honest, I think crewing was more rewarding that racing. I hope to keep crewing and pacing for my crazy friends.
As I get older, I will probably go back to ultras. But I am well aware that going long can wait and going fast will expire. Triathlon training keeps me interested, keeps me focused, and keeps my body happy. The training that is required for ultras has proved to be more punishing for me. Besides that, I like to race. I like to go fast. And ultras just don't provide that competitive high that triathlons do. I'm sticking to my current plan of focusing on triathlons and shorter running races this year. I still may do a 50k this fall, but I'm going to leave the 50s and 100s to the "professionals".
There is a quote you hear ultra runners say all the time. "If you have to ask why, you won't understand." I get it. I know why. But I am not at a point in life where ultras are the answer. Yet.

1 comment:

Christi said...

Looks like you had a great time and it looks like you are really dialed into what you want to do. That is great!