Oh the dam! Over the weekend, Swags and I opted for a “training run” at Another Dam 50K and it did not disappoint. It had been a couple years since we tangled with the dam and the damn run gave us just enough good preparation for the Vegan Power 50K hosted in the Berkshires in a couple weeks.
As I often feel important to remind you, especially the Colorado contingent, Swags and I are flat-landers. We live in Ohio so when we head off to these more hill-acious places it’s a real effort for us. So please keep that in mind when I whine about what mountain folks consider a slight incline.
First things, first
Another Dam 50K was the start of my ultra running adventuring and it’s always good to return to the place it all got started. In fact, speaking of getting started, I nearly had a panic attack at the start of this one. Ultras, in my experience, are notorious for casual starts. It’s often not more than the race director, or his kid, saying, “3, 2, 1 Go!”
But Saturday, while we are all gathered in a haphazard semi-circle listening to last-minute instructions, the RD just said, ” Guess that’s all. Go” And that’s how we started. Comically, I was standing in the area that you’d loosely consider “the front” so Swaggy has committed to video, FOREVER, the reaction of confusion and terror as much like a baby bunny I tried to scurry to safety.
It’s all coming back to me
About halfway through the race I remembered why it took me a couple efforts before I completed the distance. It’s tough and some parts of the course just take their toll as the day goes on. It’s also great to go back and know, now, no matter how bad it feels at times, I can finish. I still so clearly remember how frustrating it felt to not “know” and to be hesitant to push myself to the point necessary to complete. It’s not dangerous and it’s not scary but it’s damn uncomfortable, in my experience. Learning to “Embrace the Suck” is something you gotta do if you’re a mere mortal, like me, and you want to finish one of these things.
John, who’s like your favorite magic 8 ball, at these kinds of events predicted that I’d feel better the second half of the race than the first. He was half right. Midway through I felt dreadful. Miles 17-24 were real tests of my mental resilience. I knew I wasn’t going to quit but I didn’t know what state I’d be in when I finished. But I rebounded during the remaining miles as we closed in on race end. Certainly, a part of that can be contributed to knowing the end was near but I was stronger the last 8-mile loop than I was the third I can tell you that. It goes to show no matter how many races you run, there is always something to learn and every race, no matter how many times you’ve been there, is unpredictable.
PR? Yes, Please
Sometimes unexpected is good. For a brief period there was a chance I was going to turn in a sub-8-hour finish. That’s not fast for most people but it is for me. I was close. I came in at 8 hours and 1 minute. Guess I will have to go back next year for the 7:59 finish.
After a 30-ish mile training day I think we’re as ready as we can be to tackle the next 50K on June 21. It’s going to be an all vegan-food-eating, paw-friendly and eco-conscious event. There are sure to be some tales or tails to talk about after that!
Since race day, of course, all my healthy habits imploded for a day or so. Much like race day it’s always up and down, up and down when it comes to this healthy living thing. Maybe that’s why you like us? We are strugglers with a very short memory.
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G
The Torture Report began in January 2014 as a weekly update of our journey to completing a 50-mile race. Since then it’s continued on to become a chronicle of how we try mightily to find fitness, health and sometimes the finish line. We aren’t always successful but we keep showing up and telling you all about it on Tuesdays.