Being stubborn and refusing to quit … this is what I love about ultra runners !!
“If I had known what kind of day I was in for when I signed up for Hot to Trot, I could have been better prepared … like having a motorized scooter on course“
I went into Hot to Trot feeling very rested and strong with a very attainable mileage goal. I had a game plan and a pace that works well for me, and for the first hour everything was going great, but then it started …
While running and laughing with a couple of friends a bee stung me on my ankle, not a big deal, it happens a lot while running on trails. About 15 minutes later my shoulders started to hurt, again nothing new, but usually they don’t start hurting until late in a race. I started shifted my water bottle from hand to hand, and finally ended up running with it in the back of my shorts. Success, my shoulders started loosening up and feeling better. 2 hours in and I was feeling good again, still on a steady pace and on track to hit my goal.
The feeling was short-lived. Side stitch quickly set it and stayed with through the 3 hour mark. I was able to push through it, my pace had slowed a bit, but I was still on track. The side stitch seemed to go away after about an hour, but I might have just not noticed it because I was having trouble breathing. I felt like was running at altitude, I couldn’t get a full breath. I was having to take three short breaths to every exhale. I was having to walk all of the inclines now, and the biggest climb on the course was completely exhausting me.
I was kept telling myself to push through, it can’t last forever … it will pass. But it wouldn’t go away, by the 4 hour mark I was still having trouble breathing and was now having trouble with my vision. Everything was out lined in purple, and out of focus, making it very difficult to see the trail while running. When it would get too fuzzy to see the ground I would start to walk, but this seemed to make everything even more out of focus, but I was moving slower so I had more time react. In my mind I was analyzing everything I had eaten, my fluid in take, my S-cap count … everything seemed OK, but I wasn’t feeling OK.
I told a couple of people what was going on and walked 2 full laps hoping this would solve my issues. Success I started feeling better !! My vision cleared and I was able to run again. I had 2 really good laps, and at a slower pace I was able to manage my breathing a little better.
“5 hours in I finally felt like I had passed through my low, but I was wrong, it was just starting.”
My legs started cramping, I was walking/running a thin line, trying to go as hard as I could without going too hard and cramping. I could feel muscle spasms in my calves as I ran, I could feel them wanting to lock up on me. I used a combination of running and walking to keep them locking up, but I knew I was walking a thin line. I was slightly dehydrated, but I still drinking plenty and taking S-caps every hour, what was happening to me !!
5.5 hours in an my legs had started locking up on me occasionally while moving on course. Luckily It had always happened by a tree so I could hold on for dear life, but then it happened on the short paved section of the course … I had nowhere to go but down. As it turned out I was surrounded by friends, all of whom stopped and helped me work out the cramp.
“I am so blessed to have so many amazing friends”
The next 2+ hours were a slow painful grind to finish out my 8 hours. I ended up having to walk most of the last 2 hours and all of the last hour. I thought about quitting my times, but I couldn’t … I wasn’t going to let this race beat me. I’m OK with a good old fashion ass kicking (which I got), but I’m not OK with giving up just because I’m having a bad day.
“It was a great day full of great people, that hurt like hell”