Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lessons Learned Lead to New Potential

My recent course record (6:53:51 which was 5 minutes faster) at Old Pueblo 50miler – a hometown race – was bittersweet. Bitter in the lead up to the race, yet pleasantly sweet as everything came together for me that day.

Top 3 at Old Pueblo. Myself, Nate Polaske, and Sion Lupowitz.
Photo credit: Mindy Polaske
Race day weather was perfect, cool, not cold, in the early morning. I had friends to run with in the early miles. Volunteers helped me speed through the aid stations. I ran with my friend and training partner, Charlie, the first 25 miles until he had to deal with leg cramps. My training came together even as a “B” race thanks to my coach, Ian Torrence. And previously learned lessons regarding gear and nutrition enabled me to keep my pace strong.

And proof that my Salomon shoes help me fly even at the end of the race.
Photo credit: Joel O'Bryan

I used two handheld bottles from mile 7 and forward. One with just water and the other with a mixture of CarboPro and HydraC5. The first few hours of the race I aimed for ~200 calories per hour and then around half way dropped back to ~150 calories per hour. My new fueling strategy worked. My stomach held strong. I stayed hydrated. My energy held constant.

My goal for that day was to run the race specifically focused on expressing joy and grace.

The bitter bite came from some personal issues the week prior which I am still working through. I tried playing the mental blame game, feeling sorry for myself, and myriad other thoughts streamed through me. Of course that led nowhere. I prayed for direction to know how to start the healing process.

My Old Pueblo race was a beautiful reflection of making a mental shift in the final hours the night before. I found peace within myself.  I am continuing to learn and grow and I am thankful for that breakthrough moment only hours before the race.

I broke through years of being stuck on a proverbial plateau for many aspects of my life. The Old Pueblo race demonstrated to me new life potentials which I am eager to stride forward and work to achieve. 

My race was a demonstration of my own healing and mental outlook. Running calmly and with joy through an ultrarunning race for my first time was a revolutionary experience I recommend others strive to achieve. We are not destined to always suffer through ultras even though it does make for great stories.  

Most importantly I will be living life more fully, deepening my relationships with others, and striving to improve not merely maintain the status quo. From this new outlook I have already glimpsed new potentials personally and athletically. I hope to embrace new trials with heart and recognize the strength I can derive from them.

Now to refocus on running and with big World Ultra Skyrunning races coming up – Transvulcania in La Palma, Spain, May 9th and MtBlanc 80k in Chamonix, France, June 27th – I will be mentally focused to race again with peace, joy, and grace.

Happy running to new heights!

Enjoying the Tucson trails with Charlie Ware.

Ready to climb higher and leave behind limitations.