Lately, I've been struggling with some issues unrelated to running, and it's impacting most things, including running. The summer was a blur of busy-ness for Burning Man, including tons and tons of planning for the Burning Man Ultramarathon. In the end, I'm glad of the time I invested, but at the same time, it's a lot of time where my mind can't focus on other things. Like my own personal racing. When life is a constant busy blur, often dominated by unhappiness, it can be very difficult to focus on athletic pursuits...or creative dreams.
I made the decision to do what I could. 50 miles was what I thought I'd do, though maybe just 50k. And if I was killing it, running really well, why, I'd finish the whole damn thing.
And I really lived by that, and didn't feel bad one bit for my decision.
My visits to NC have always been surrounded by my sister, but with her two kids that I'm becoming increasing attached to, it was difficult to leave them and run a race. But I did it, as I'm an ultrarunner.
As I drove to the race, it was pitch black and pouring. Not the best way to approach a race. I had grabbed a random handful of CDs leaving NYC, not even looking at them, and one of them was the Beatles Anthology. "Let It Be" came on and I burst into tears, thinking of how horrible it was that John Lennon was shot and what kind of world we livee in. Um, not the best mood to approach a 24 hour race with.
When I got to the start, it wasn't pouring, but definitely raining. I caught up with old friends, chatted. I told a few people of my intention to "only" run 50k or 50 miles, and many echoed my sentiments. Others applauded me for being in the moment I needed to be in. The kindness of others, like Dan, kept my personal items sheltered from the , and good friends cheered me on the entire time.
And OFF. I felt good, and took off at a decent pace. Not as fast as usual, but GO. I enjoyed the good old Hinson Lake course, and chatted with friends. I thought about how much I loved the ultrarunning community. It was fun.
After about ten miles though, the race felt harder than it should. I knew I wouldn't go 24 hours. 50 miles was all. Maybe even 50k? But not 24 hours.
The course is a loop of abt 1.55 miles, with a few small hills (that feel like mountains after a while). Local running store/club Vac and Dash decorate the course with hilarious signs ("Mt Hinson," "Ooooh we're halfway there ooooh living on a prayer," "98 Miles to South of the Border," "Jerry's Food Castle"), and the vibe is FUN AWESOME PARTY. People may have even been taking shots or drinking beers. It's one of my top three fave races (with obviously the Burning Man Ultramarathon being one, and Vermont 100 being number two).
I decided to have a fun day. I'd catch up to a friend who was walking, or someone who was walking and wanted to chat, and I'd take a break to chat and catch up. I stopped to pee when I needed to. I ate frosted pumpkin cookies and cupcakes and pumpkin chocolate chip bread and potatoes. I laughed. I did the Ray K shuffle with the legend himself. (He'd kill me if he knew I said that.) I had fun.
|me and shannon at the start of the race. i'm representing the black rock city 50k!!!|
Around mile 25 or so, I ran into my friend Shannon. She was only going to do 50k, so I finished 50k with her. I decided I felt like I could go longer, but I didn't feel like doing 50 miles. So I chose 40 to be my ultimate mileage.
It was great to chat and catch up with Shannon, and she really pushed me. She's an amazing runner (123 miles in 24 hours) and an animal activist (the woman loves and rescues dogs). We caught up on love and life and career and running and community. It was grea.t
Post-Shannon, I ran, I chatted, I walked occasionally, I ate good foods.
And then I finished. 40 miles. I don't remember the time, but really, I don't care. And honestly, I ran more than 40 miles, though I couldn't tell you the exact amount. Who cares? I was there. I ran. I had fun with friends.
It wasn't my fave Hinson Lake, but it was the one I needed to have.