Side note: I thought I posted this months ago.My bad...
"Ok, have fun and be careful. I'm going to swing this down as hard as possible. "
When I think of the ways a day can go. Man, I usually laugh a bit, cause really who the hell knows. This isn't a big story about persevering over great heights etc etc. I get migraines often enough, and Sun Mt 50k happened to be the next random day that one landed on.
I had one earlier in the week, so was kind of waiting for a flair up, and was just hoping it would pass on a few days, but not so much.
Leading into the race I had an odd feeling that I just chalked it up to taper, fatigue, burnout. I wasn't looking at this as a race or that I'd even finish. The last 50k left such a bad taste in my mouth that I stopped everything for 8 months. Mostly, or directly because I didn't drop from that race and like an asshole kept going to "prove something". This time, I had this relief that if the IT band went or anything body related failed, I could drop and not damage myself for the rest of summer like last year.
The morning was amazing. About 51 and blue skies. I didn't want to run close to the front or in a pack and feel forced. Also, I really wanted to run with Alley for the first two miles, just another weekend run with the two of us "banging out some shit" (BOSS).
I mention to her the day before: tomorrow you have nothing else to do but run. No clients to talk to, meetings, or schedules to manage, or sitting at your desk with your ass falling asleep. Just one thing. Run.
I know I've mentioned before but I fuck'n love downhills. Steep technical downhills. Running with a group of 8 when we hit the first major down and sweet beard of Zeus it's a technical mt. bike trail with massive banked turns. So. Much. Fun.
About mile 6 I felt the start of the headache start, small dark ache behind the eyes. By mile 10 it was about a 5 out of 10, by mile 15 it was at a 7 and my neck had stiffened up. Blah blah blah. Yeah that all sucked, I'll fast forward cause really I wouldn't want to read about having a headache during a race.
.....we pick up our story already in progress....
I had this great plan: I'd walk to where I waited for Alley when she raced here two years ago. A cool little out crop about mile 20. Sit there, rest, wait for the headache to ease then run with her if I could to the 25.5 aide station and decide to drop or not. Clear plan. Great! Not 2 minutes after said plan I hear,"Hey! What're U do'n here!?!?"
There goes my plan : )
New plan: hang on to Alley until mile 25.5
"Do what you need to do and I'll try and stay with you." I heard myself say. If she was in front I could focus on that and push the headache off to the side. In training sometimes I lead, and other days she's the strong one and leads. You never know what the day can bring. We rolled into 25.5 AS and I decided to stay on. A handful of pickles, some ginger ale, and another salt tab. What the hell am I doing to my body??? At this point I figured nothing mechanical was aching, like an IT band or hamstring so I figured. What the hell.
With the words of,"only 6 more miles.", hanging in the air from the volunteer Alley and I laughed at each other as we both remembered we heard the same thing at Volcanic 50k, which took another three hours to finish after that was said there.
Funny thing happened on the way to the coliseum.
As we climbed Patterson Mt. the pain in my head started to quickly go away. The climbing was steady and there was a breeze with a bit of shade cover. Up and over the ladder, to prove we weren't cows one last time, and then the final push to the turn around at the top. Holy shit what a climb, but I finally saw a woman come back that was just ahead of us. Phew!
Viewing the valley from the top, legs rested, and head feeling good I laughed looking around. Amazing. Got to spend half the day running with Alley, see her power up the hills and kept that steady pace to keep us just in front of the cut offs.
From the top of Patterson I told Alley- "Ok, have fun and be careful. I'm going to swing this down as hard as possible."
Legs were under me, views were amazing, descent was on, target rich environment.
So much fun. Slightly technical, but highly runnable. I focus on long steps, grabbing as much ground as possible with each step. Floating, little efforts with tight hard pushes to keep up speed. I stopped once to ask a woman if she needed help as I could see that her IT band had pulled. The obvious lower leg drag that has so many times affected my race days. Made my stomach turn just seeing her. Also, reminded me that it could happen at any time, so I hit the gas again and shot down the trail. ( A later look on Strava had me listed as the second fastest on the day : ) I'll take that! )
Finally hit the road and figured it was about a mile to the finish. Garmin read, 28.9 but I had hit it on some branches earlier and it turned off for a few so I knew I was close. Kept telling myself, "it'll be 31, plan on that, don't think it'll be shorter." So I pushed an easy pace to make sure the bottom didn't fall out.
It's funny, I had no stress about the day. I told myself, if I drop I drop. Enjoy the day. Look around. Soak it in.
Yeah, the day didn't fall as I would of like, but in a lot of ways it seemed to turn out better. I got to run with my Girl and enjoy the area a bit longer. Spent time watching some amazing people work the effort of the day. Great, great reminder to myself that I've surrounded myself with some pretty amazing people. So yeah, not a bad day ; )