There's this place I see
clear as mud and the water in my eyes
comes without sadness. The
wind rips around my flesh and the sun is aggressive in it's kissing. The patience I strive for is greater than my pain, it's a mental confluent surge of ability and superiority burning pangs and irritation, all dancing poorly and violently in the pits of my stomach and surface of my feet.
It's never a gimme; except this finish was a total freakin' gimme in my mind. And I got that finish, but that's not what I wanted most. I ran it faster than I ever have. But, it still wasn't a gimme. I drove out to the island too early. So I shut my eyes for 45 minutes in the car before checking in and getting the damn thing going already.
First leg is the 25k loop with an extra added out and back for a total of a shy 20 miles. It has variation, there are some gradual climbs and gradual down hills. Nothing technical, compared to the Wasatch front. The Sunrise on Saturday was nothing short of kiss the ground and mountain air you breathe spectacular! Running gleefully with the rising blue glow and looking out over the city lights, beyond the reflections in the great salt lake was immeasurable beauty. You'll see no pictures from me though. No time for love Dr. jones! ;) I set myself up, and more accountable even, told my friends my personal goal. I wanted to run this 50 miles in 10 hours. The 30+ miles that came next are flat, completely runnable, flat, flat, flat miles. I knew 10hours was a stretch, but one I thought I reach. My best time out there was my first. My first Ultra. My first dip in this dirty world. My first experience with all the good and the bad that comes with long distance running. Well, damn, I've done a lot since then. I have fallen in and out of love so many times with ultras since the first...
Did I overestimate my ability or underestimate the mental and physical order of this course?
There are ALWAYS reasons and variables that will effect your day. My goal ALL of the time, is to treat those variables equally, and not let them get in my way. So, I won't mention those variables that made the day more challenging. -Because- that is what makes endurance running so engaging. "Anything can happen in an Ultra" I have heard it 1000 times, and it always rings true. Anything can and does happen, even if that anything is a great and smooth day, post holing through snow, or trying to find a place to crap every half hour.
My goal was 10 hours. I finished in 11:12.
(Variables and anythings happened in those years, that's besides the point)
Humbly speaking, I didn't want to just finish. I wanted to run strong and hit my goal. I've come far from just wanting to finish. I've done that, I'm looking to improve.
It's not so much that I didn't hit my goal. I was happy by the end that I PR'd none the less! I think what surprised me was how hard it was, and how hard I pushed, and I still missed 10 hours by a landslide. I was also unpleasantly surprised with how impatient and physically uncomfortable i felt. I didn't really enjoy the last 20 miles, and that's a long time to just want something to be done with.
It's not my favorite course. In fact, I think I have been quoted saying I'd never run out there again! But, I had a good year last year with lots of race practice, I thought this was a gimme. And yesterday, i was reminded once again, that it's (races) are never a gimme.
Ahhh, but horah-hooray! Real running season has begun, I can't wait for long mountain mornings that turn into afternoons.
The 2018 plan:
Scout Mountain 35k
El Vaquero Loco 50k
Gnarly Bear 50k
Gnarly Bear 50k