Yesterday, I ran the Silver Rush 50. Well, sort of. I missed the fourth check point cutoff. So, I ended up running 42 miles of the 50.
As brutal as it seems to be, running those 42 miles through the mountains of Colorado is the most fun I’ve had in a long time (while running). I met many people from around the country. Some interactions were brief, others were not.
I met someone from Missouri, a school teacher. This was her first ultra marathon and her whole family had come out in support. She also failed to make the cut off. She got pulled off the course at mile 40. She found me after the race and asked if I had made it. I told her I did not. With tears in her eyes, she told me she got pulled too.
I’ve been there before. A race like this can be all consuming. Even when we’re at work or driving kids around to practice, birthday parties, and school, the race is always on our minds. It’s not always the actual race but the training. It’s the last thing on your mind before you go to sleep and one of the first things on your mind when you wake up. You keep track of stats and mileage. You worry about any pain you may feel and wonder if you’ve injured yourself. Thousands of times, you picture yourself crossing the finish line. You worry about the race lull and how bad they’ll be. You wonder how many times you’re going to tell yourself, “you can’t do this, why are you out here?” You’ll think about your nutrition. Will it rain? Will it be hot? Will it be cold?
It sounds consuming because it is. Most runners have real jobs, real families, and real life. The vast majority of us pay to do this. We lose sleep to squeeze in more training. We give up going out to eat and social time. I give up time with my wife and kids. It’s not just the runner that has all this time and energy invested. It’s our families and even our jobs.
When you spend half of a year training for one specific goal in mind, to not get the outcome you expect is devastating. I’ve been there. I’ve sat in my car sobbing on the phone to my wife because I DNFd (did not finish).
The past seven months have been different. I’ve been more consistent with my training. I haven’t been able to get the super long runs in but I’ve logged more miles than I’ve ever logged before. Sometimes up to three runs in a day. I listened to my body. If I felt fatigued, I’d take a rest day. Was it perfect? No. Would I have liked to run more? Absolutely! I did what I could with my time. I would say that 75% of my training over the past seven months has been while my kids were asleep.
This is really the first time that I’m not upset about the results. I choose to look at it from the point of view that I RAN 42 MILES! Not that I came up 8 miles short. I felt great afterwards and I had so much fun out on the course. The course is some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen. This is another stepping stone in my progress. Not only do I see myself completing a 50 miler in my future, I see myself running longer races. I see myself going back to Colorado and running these races again.
It’s my choice to feel down about my results or to feel good about my achievement. I look at all the positive that came from yesterday and know that not everything is always going to turn out the way I expect. I’ve learned that failure is just a part of success.
Turquoise lake and Leadville