First things first lets get the big excuse out of the way, I had and continue to have a fairly good cold. I awoke at 3:45 Saturday morning and didn’t feel all to bad and convinced myself that sure I can go run 50 miles. After gathering up a my things and food for the road I set out for Murphy park in Savage.
I arrived, dropped off my drop bags, said my hello’s to a few friends and made my way back to my truck for a last minute check and some warmth. Before you know it we were all gathered up at the start line and heading down the trail. I was lucky enough to get in with a talkative group and lost myself in the conversation as we tackled the first 5 miles of hills. I was so engage that I hardly was annoyed that my batteries in my headlamp were dying and would only work for a minute or two at a time. We made our way out to the second aid station and got separated as some got supplies, some zipped through and some used the rest room. I felt good as I started out into the flatter part of the course and made my way around with little problem.
The course changed a bit this year but it was nice to be on familiar ground and it all came back to me as I rounded each corner. Before I knew it I was done with loop 1 and gearing up for the hills again. Little did I realize that my body was fighting two battles at the same time and my race was on the losing end. I made my way through till about mile 30 and than the wheels started to come off and the negative talk started. I was beat and seriously started to justify how I might drop from the race. But with 4 or so miles till the beginning of loop 3 I made a promise not to make any decisions till than.
At the beginning of loop 3 I knew my brother would be waiting for me and I would need to take the remaining miles in 4 mile chunks. I gathered up my supplies and with my brother in tow I headed off into the now seemingly endless barrage of hills. The conversation helped a lot as I took my mind off what was left and focused on the hill at hand and reaching the next aid station. But the battle raging inside was clearly taking its tole as I walked more than I ran. My brother did all he could do to motivate me but my legs and heart where just not in it. With little fan fare we moved along and I enjoyed the 4 hour conversation with my brother. Thanx Matt!
I arrived at the finish 11 hours and 30 minutes after I started (15 minutes better than last year) to the cheers of my mother and the small crowd that had gathered to see the finishers complete their goals. By this time I was such a wreck and wanted nothing else but to get my stuff and get home to my girls, a shower and warm bed.
Last week at this time I had thoughts of running a 100 mile race someday but somewhere along this journey that aspiration met with reality. I know if I put in the work and sacrifice I could achieve that distance but there comes a point, for me at least, that I wonder where the return on investment is. By no means to I minimize the accomplishment of a 100 mile race but for me it is not in the cards for somewhere around 40 miles I stop having fun and if I’m not having fun I can no longer justify the time training.
This realization to focus on Marathons and 50k’s also comes after three of my most enjoyable races came this year at these distances and the realization that the further I go down the endurance route the more I move away from the group of friends that get me up on Saturday mornings in January for a brisk run and coffee at Caribou.
What did I learn?
- When fighting a cold and fighting a race the cold will always win.
- The Marathon and 50k distance is where my heart is.
- Running with my brother is always a good time.
Special thank you to the Surf the Murph team and its great volunteers. I was completely impressed!
Also a special thank you to my wife and daughters for their “understanding” as find my way through this passion of mine. Love You!