A few things I never thought I’d say so soon (out loud!) ..
1) Hard to believe that my first Ultra was just 4 days ago .. and I am feeling pretty darn good!
2) I am on the hunt for my next Ultra .. yes for real! Seriously, these words have never left my mouth after anything longer than a half-marathon.
This brings me back to 10-1/2 years ago, finishing my first full marathon .. clearly not properly trained. I remember having to hop on a plane less than 24-hours after crossing the finish line .. the pain in my legs, feet, entire body from head to toe .. unimaginable. I said then .. I would never, ever attempt that again! If I only knew then what I have learned now .. I may have been running my first ultra a few years younger and may not have beaten myself up so many times over what I thought was an unsuccessful run or race, but could’ve learned from all of them.
I had trained the last 10 weeks on the race course. Each week adding more miles, different pieces of the race at a time. I had never done this training for a road race. This meant that I really got to know the rolling hills, the single track, the great down hills, not so flowing creek crossings, waterfalls and not so fun climbs — at any given time more challenging than I had remembered . Not that in the 31+ miles that day they felt or looked exactly as they did on training runs. But maybe, just maybe .. it helped me go into the race a little more relaxed. My training partners and I went in that morning treating it like it was just another long run with 1,000 other runners.
Before I knew it we were off. The day was beautiful, a little crisp with blue skies and I was thankful for the three days of rain we had the week prior and not on race day. Miles 1-10 seemed to zoom by .. at least to me. When I say zoom, I don’t mean fast .. I just mean I got there quicker than I expected. It was fairly crowded on the single track and crossing through overflowing creeks made it an adventure. Just as you thought your feet were drying out .. there was another one to cross. The one time when running that it is okay to have wet feet and pants .. on the trails. All so worth it.
.. to be continued