My first 100 mile race. I've been looking forward to this distance for a long time and planned on putting myself into a position to be up on the podium at the end of the day. Unfortunately my body had other plans in store for me.
We'll start things off a few days later. I'm finally physically feeling a bit better on Wednesday, and Tuesday was worlds better than Monday. At this point, it's mostly just some achy ankles and knees, and for some strange reason both of my wrists hurt, left one real bad. I didn't fall at all or anything, so I can't figure that out.
Finally today, now 3 days later, I'm able to soak it in and start to be at least a little bit proud of finishing the race, even though it wasn't at all what I hoped for. Maybe that's part of why I didn't do as well as I hoped? I'm still trying to figure that part out. I still can't get over how much harder running 100 miles was than I expected it would be. I thought after doing two 24-hour long Tough Mudder events (first year ~45 obstacles on 10 mile loop course, second year ~40 obstacles in 5 mile loop course) in 30* weather in new jersey in November in a wetsuit that this would be breeze! I was dead wrong. To date whenever I've hit rough patches in races (and sometimes in life) I think back to the hard times I fought through in those races and kept pushing forward, but last weekend doing that wasn't getting me through it. I thought my mental strength was unbreakable. Again, I was wrong. I think once I started seeing that my goal time was slipping through my fingers I began to let the self-doubt in and that opened the flood gates for my body to weaken once my mind did so. I've gotten emotional in races before or at the end when I've been so overwhelmed with joy and pride for a job well done, but this was the first time I've broken down in a race because of a disappointment in myself. I feel like I let a lot of people down by not performing to my potential out there, especially my coach who put in so much time and effort to get me in peak physical shape for this event (though deep down I know she would never admit to or agree with that). I am 100% sure that by underestimating this race it put me in a real tough position to succeed, and in an even better position for failure. While I'm glad that I made it through, I may not have without everyone there waiting for me and with Lauren pulling me along. I'd like to say (and I think everyone who knows me would probably agree) that no matter what I would have made my way to that finish line, but looking back to how I felt in those last few hours, I'm not so sure. Either way these guys kept me going all day/night long.
I also thought that I would absolutely love every minute of the race and it would be so much fun and I'd want to do another one right away, etc. I just don't think I enjoyed it as much as I expected I would. I'm not sure why. Don't get me wrong, I had fun, and I want to do another one, but it wasn't the dream race that I was kind of expecting. I know, I know that "I did an extremely difficult thing", and that "most people could never do what I did", and that "I still ran a really good time", and "I should be proud", etc. but I haven't allowed myself to fully believe any of that yet. I'm trying, but it's challenging when I expect more out of myself.
I really felt pretty damn good the whole race until I hit about 92 miles or so and ran into the biggest wall I've ever experienced in my life. Like WOAH I didn't want to keep going. I know my nutrition had faded in the last few hours leading up to that point. I also knew at about mile 75 that I was slowing a bit and might not hit my goal so I decided to push a little harder for that 15 mile loop and keep on pace which deep down I knew would either get me to where I needed to be or (more likely) would bonk me pretty bad. It certainly did the latter.
At the end of the day, I still finished the race in 21 hours and 18 minutes and was in 6th place overall. Had I hit my goal time in the 19 hour range I could have probably hit the top 3-4 runners. Let's call this a learning experience and move on.