It’s been a couple years since the ambition to run a 50k started. I found out about ultrarunning after a lady I met at a Ragnar training run told me she didn’t care what people ran in a week; it was in the day that she found fascinating.
I was confused as I had never heard of ultrarunning. I researched the race she mentioned, Western States Endurance Run and I was in awe. Runners who run 100.2 miles in 30 hours with 18,000’ ascent and 26,000 descent overall. I started listing to ultrarunning podcasts and absorbed the highs and lows of ultrarunning. I was listening to a podcast one day who mentioned a 50k that ended at an old saloon I was familiar with. I thought how exciting it would be to end at the old saloon on my first 50k. I talked it over with my hubby.
I signed up for Aravaipa’s Crown King Scramble in Arizona held in March 2019. I knew it was going to be a hard race for me. I live where my mountain trails are covered under deep snow during peak training. I would be training in colder temperatures than what I would face on race day. I tried to prepare myself for the heat shock I knew I would face as I made my way up the hill to the old saloon. I was on track with my training and I felt great! And then, training abruptly stopped.
Acute abdominal pain became so intense I had to have surgery. I was prepared to be out for 3 weeks, something I knew training could accommodate. Unfortunately, during surgery other issues presented themselves requiring a longer recovery time. When I was able to train again, I started right where I left off. I didn’t allow my body to rebuild the strength and endurance and ended up with a knee injury. I spent a lot of time in PT and watched the race go on without me.
Lesson learned. Scale back from where you left off. Your body will return to where you left off quickly.
I started to prepare myself for the 2020 race. Training again was going great. I found trails in my area that gave me vertical practice, distance building my endurance, and experimenting with fuel for race day nutrition. I ran a trail half marathon and a 30k. I didn’t do well on the half because I was in the beginning stage of training and not sure what I was going to experience. I went out too hard and too fast and bonked on the second half. The 30k made me super proud of myself. I wasn’t the fastest, but I was the fastest I could have been. I knew I was on the right path to complete my 50k.
I continued my training with my favorite running partner, Vivi. Distance increased. Nutrition became more and more important on and off the trail. I had great days and bad days. A mild winter brought warmer temperatures which helped prepare mentally for the AZ heat. A month away from raceday, and I started to feel the anxiety. I started wondering if I trained enough, pushed hard enough, prepared enough. Was I completely crazy to think I could do this?
And then like an unwanted encore, the race was called off. The Covid-19 virus got the upper hand on our world. Races big and small were being canceled as the government called for social distancing. The feelings of disappointment were not the same as the previous year. Maybe because this was out of my control. My body didn’t let me down this time. And, I knew the race was only postponed not completely canceled.
The hardest thought is training isn’t over. I love running on the trails. I could do it every day. The issue stems from the amount of time it takes me since I am not a front of the pack runner. It is hard for me to spend so much time away from my family training. I am thankful for their support. Asking for them to continue is hard, but I know they will do it without complaint.
The race was postponed for October. Since I can’t make it to AZ then, I can try for the 2021 race or take credits towards a different Aravaipa race. I am wondering if the Crown King Scramble is not meant for me to race. I will look into their other races and see if one sounds like the one I was meant to race all along. Until then, I signed up for Aravaipa Strong Virtual Race for the 50k distance. I know I will be slow, because there is something about race day adrenaline, but I am going to finish it even if it takes me 12 hours. Let’s hope not though!
To all my runner readers, happy running and at the time this is written, while practicing social distancing. And, if you haven’t quite taken to running yet, I strongly suggest you try it. Start out with a walk or hike and let the fresh air do its magic.