Disappointment is difficult.
It is disheartening to train so many hours and miles upon miles, pushing through early dark mornings before anyone else is awake, run strenuous hill repeats and stairs in the evening, climb the Jacob's Ladder a couple days of the week to 3,000 feet, and all part of working relentlessly for a solid goal to finish Grindstone100 during their warmest and most humid race event ever — and yet be so very far away from the goal.
For many, it was possibly their near perfect race. For some of us ... not at all. I was in and out of sickness for 10 hours of the race and missed the hard cut-off by 20 minutes at only 37 miles in and about 8,000 feet ascend. Those numbers suck ass and could break me if all I take in account are those numbers. If I forget just what I was feeling and the hold that really had on me. If I forget the physical limitations that occurred.
|View from parking area.|
The truth: My breathing had been off for most of the time and it is something I need to take more seriously. My mind went back and forth in its own obstacle course of misery from… "What the hell is going on? I am so sick of being sick! Why the F do I want to do this?" To thoughts in the brief moments of non nausea of… "Hell yeah, I love trail, the woods, lots of rocks and climbs in the moonlight with flickers of headlamps moving ahead of me in the distance, with the sounds of animals in route and leaves snapping. Take in every ounce to enjoy this moment! Maybe I can still make cut-off! These aid station workers were right to put me back out there and I am grateful that they acted as my crew!"
This year's Grindstone adventure was not the epic adventure I had looked forward to. On one hand it really, really sucked, and yet I had to make lemonade out of it and go for a hike later in the day and enjoy Virginia's mountains with my husband since I had dragged him out there. I didn't cry about the outcome. I was still stunned with the short jaunt through the woods — I mean highly technical rock hell hole that the first 22 miles is and the sluggish next 16 miles. This was my husband and mine first time away together since having kids 11 years ago. My day completely changed unexpectedly and it's something I tell my kids they have to adapt for. It's something that ultra delivers every time.
I wonder how the man in the fetal position, sick on the side of the trail spent his day. Or, the other two guys who doubled back down the trail hurling felt about their race. I imagine, just as disappointed as me. Sometimes, there is no recovery and waiting it out doesn't work in your time frame.
Ultra running is my hobby. Yes, this is what I do for fun. Participating is such an endurance demanding sport means not everyday is going to be in my favor, and it's going to be a commitment. It's going to be hard. And the lessons learned sometimes hit me over the head. I am in this for the long haul, not a one and done mindset in the least. I can't even imagine! But I am licking my mental wounds because they are there and real.
So when I talked to my mountain, it replied back, "Not the way you want it today."
When I do cross that line again, I am going to appreciate it so much more. I let myself mourn for one week in this disappointment of this race outcome, and today I hit the road again however it grinds me up. Breath in, breath out…with one foot in front of the other.
|Larger rock traversing that I actually enjoyed the most between mile 31 and 37. Grateful for this section.|
|View from road heading to Charlottesville on Sunday.|
|How symbolic: my cracked Grindstone cookie.|