I got drug tested at USATF Nationals!

First off, a celebration! I ran the best race of my life and went so far into the pain cave that I completely failed a 2 mi jog to get coffee this morning. I absolutely couldn’t run, but I pulled off 3rd place at the USATF 50k Trail National Championship! I decided to eat oranges from a tree in the California State Capitol Park until I could move again…then walked…very slowly. It took a long time before I could not see that orange tree.

Fourmidable 50k – Part 2.

The only reason this wasn’t the muddiest race I’ve been in was that there was too much water for the dirt to turn it all into mud. The rolling sections were chains of puddles. The rest was upstream, downstream, or throughstream. It made me remember the days of hopping surf at Lake Michigan with my brothers, but colder, and with soaked shoes. Aid stations were like beach picnic snack breaks, but also colder, and with more sugar.

My rubber soccer cleat shoe choice was perfect. My pacing was almost perfect. I rolled up to the start line almost 10 lbs heavier than a year ago. More about that later, but suffice to say it was a positive thing and I was ready to move some mud. I went out a little fast trying to keep it smooth down-hilling in 3rd position. I realized my error on the first set of climbs and dialed it back to reasonable. The smartest thing I did all day was get out of Tim Tollefson’s way around mile 10, after which I hit a mental low and was in 6th. With nobody stressing my pace and a lot of racing to go, I stared at my toes and talked myself into a slow steady uphill rhythm. It doesn’t make sense to me why creeping up on a rhythm is so much different than slowing down into a rhythm, but I kept creeping and started catching people.

The puddle ridge on the top was cake after that. I went straight into a flooded marsh and swam my way out (my original endurance sport). I skied down the next stretch of rocks and found myself in 3rd with 4 mi remaining at No Hands AS. I wanted to fill a bottle with Tailwind, but somebody asked if I wanted water. Since I was dehydrated, I said, “Yes! Water!” I also wanted beer, a few burgers, the race to be over, and a long nap. Who knows what happened there. I bonked (obviously) shortly after leaving the aid station and worked the final climb relying on those extra 10 lbs and constantly mumbling all sorts of motivational wisdom. “Rob Bond says you’re stronger than you think you are.” “It was your dumb choice to take just water.” “You’re not going to let 12.9% of the distance define this race, unless it’s fast.” (I do a lot of math problems when running).

I made it.

And, even more than post-Marine Corps Marathon, I finally believe I have arrived at the party. Time to see what kind of beer is on tap. I’m still thirsty.


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