“The trick is, not caring that it hurts.” T.E. Lawrence, after striking a match and letting it burn down to his fingers and extinguish itself in Lawrence of Arabia
Well, it’s done…the Bad Marsh 50k Ultra, that is. Yesterday I ran it and today, I’m savoring the personal victory of finishing it. This was not an easy 50k. I struggled throughout the run, beginning to end. It never got easy except, if you count when I crossed the finish line and immediately forced myself to the ground in a sitting position, 7 hours and 7 minutes after it had started.
Tim Waz of Low Country Ultras handed me the finishers medal as I remained seated. Very few times have I felt proud to get a medal at the end of a race or felt that I earned the right to wear it. I definitely felt proud of having that cool looking medal dangling from my neck. I worked hard and struggled to finish this 31.5 mile run. This was one of those rare races where it was will alone that propelled me forward each painful step of the way until I crossed the finish line.
As I had mentioned in my prior blog entry, I was approaching this run with a broken body. My right hip and the balls of my feet had been very problematic leading up to this event. Even a 3.2 mile run earlier last week had been a painful experience for me. And, to add more drama to the mix, most of last week I was quite ill with flu type symptoms. So, I figured this event was going to be an uphill battle for me but I welcomed it as a training run leading to the Cremator Ultra 50 next month.
A dear friend of mine, Sarah Bland, drove down from Atlanta on Saturday to do the Bad Marsh along with me. She arrived at my house around noon and we bought a few supplies for the race, had lunch together and relaxed for about an hour at my home before driving to Beaufort. Sarah volunteered to drive to the race since she was familiar with Beaufort, SC. Thank God that she did because I would of gotten so lost driving there. I find all of those small highways just over the border into SC so very confusing. We arrived at the race location at approximately 5:00pm, giving us a good hour to review our race terrain and socialize with a lot of familiar faces and meet new people before the race started at 6:00pm. I love the ultra running community. They are such a friendly, tightly knit, helpful lot!
The race course was a 4.5 mile loop around what seemed an old abandoned golf course. The majority of the path was unpaved and we had three, maybe, four road crossings. The trail was clearly marked with small orange flags. It was impossible to get lost on the race course, even at night.
There was nothing technical at all about the race. It was almost entirely flat, as anyone would expect down here in the Low Country but, there was one mound that you had to go up and over with each loop. Nothing to brag about but it was a hill. In the Low Country a hill even if little hill is something worth mentioning.
I swore that this was going to be a training run but along the way it became a race to me and, I could not help it. I wasn’t racing nor competing with anyone but myself. This run became my struggle to put things back into perspective again. As I hobbled along the path wincing and gritting my teeth with each step I took I recalled the 2008 Boulder 100 and last year’s Kilimanjaro trek. Last night was definitely a parallel to the discomforts I felt in those two aforementioned adventures. All three events challenged me physically and mentally. All three experiences made me dig deep inside and made me aware that there is an invisible strength in us all that we can tap just when we think we can no longer go on. That inner strength when tapped will propel you forward.
Last night during my darkest moments I reminded myself over and over again that misery and discomfort is a companion that insists on tagging alongside anyone that chooses to push themselves beyond the normal limits. And, there is no getting rid of this discomfort and misery except when you accomplish and finish what you start. That’s what I did last night. I repeatedly told myself that the pain and discomfort would end upon completion of the 7th loop (31.5 miles). And, that the sting of failure would endure for a long time should I have quit the race.
I know about quitting because last year I quit the Cremator ultra 50 after the 30th mile. Last night, I felt a little bit of redemption from last year’s Cremator.
So, how do I feel today?
I feel well-rested but my body does ache especially, the bottoms of my feet. Remarkably, my right hip is not bothering me at all. My feet, though, are in bad shape. I cannot train for the Cremator if my feet continue as they are. On Monday, I will see how my feet are feeling but even if they feel good I doubt I will run. Instead, though, I will bike tomorrow. This upcoming week may be just about cycling…no running. We’ll see, though.
- run log
- total miles on NB mt10: 155.1
- total real miles for 2012: 602.04
- total treadmill miles for 2012: 57.24
Once again, running an ultra reminded me that we are all stronger than we realize and what separates some from mediocrity and the mundane is the willingness to step out of one’s comfort zone and remain outside of it until you accomplish what you had set out to do. Pain is an ingredient to living fully. Ponder that for awhile and see if you do not agree.
Many thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog.
All the best to you and yours.
Take care and God bless.