You train hard, dream big, and reach for new heights…but what do you do when on the big day the bottom falls out.
The beauty of the running community can be found in the passion, support, and encouragement we have and freely give one another. Whether you are going from couch to 5K, 5k to half, or challenging yourself with a marathon or ultra distance; runners will be there by your side telling you that your are doing great and keeping driving forward toward toward your goal. After 20 years of running, from my first mile up to my second 50 miler, this has been the case every where I have toed a starting line. I love it and must say I love being out at races cheering, holding signs, handing out water, or anything else to keep runners chasing their goals.
I recently finished my second year at Tinnel Hill 50/100 mile. The first year I was completely fresh to ultra distances. I ran 3 50K races throughout the year leading up to my first 50 miler. I had a coach who a couple years prior had won the race and I felt strong at the starting line. All was going according to plan until mile 34 when it fell off the tracks. (A stress fractured ankle has a tendency to slow you down.) Thanks to the encouragement and support of my fellow runners I pressed on and finished the 50 under 10 hours with a busted ankle.
In 2018, after nearly 12 weeks of an immobilized ankle I registered to go back and chase the 100 miler. Yes, I know this was a huge stretch goal for a recovery year, but I wanted to challenge myself to rebuild and break down what I felt was a wall in front of me. I did my best to train throughout the year listening to my body and resting during pain flare ups and swelling. Nov 10th I toed the line of what I planned to be my first 100 miler, a conservative effort, but a completion. (23 degrees Farenheit was not in that plan nor sub 40 temps for the entire race.) I was cruising along on pace and feeling great until mile 23. Then the bottom fell out and I was no longer able to lift my right toes, leading to quick muscle fatigue and compensation. At the 26 mile aid station I assessed the damage to my body and planned pace. I elected to press on walking out the muscles. I lost count the number of very kind and supportive fellow runners who came along side of me and encouraged me. I may have dropped down to the 50 mile distance and finished much slower than I would have imagined, but I an not hurt and will be recovered in a few days ready to race another day.
So what do you do when you train hard, dream big and reach but the bottom falls out. Assess where you are at that moment, make the smart choice, and lean into your fellow runners. We all may have different goals in mind, we want to see each other reach their goals. Stay awesome! Keep supporting you running community. And most importantly, keep Running The Ville!