What do blisters, muscle cramping, and acid reflux have in common? For me, the Cheyenne Mountain 50 k on April 25th. It was a day, and a race, to endure. I found myself taping blisters and experiencing a burning throat all before 25 k. Somehow I had let myself wear a double layer of socks that insisted on providing blisters and a hydration and fuel plan that offered me heartburn. I was certainly better prepared than that…regardless, we all must experience days with unforeseen challenges and take each challenge in stride. The race was well supported with great volunteers; I just chose to have an off day. I found muscle cramping hiding behind just about every big rock and tree the last 10 kilometers. Yes, I finished, and have learned from my journey. Be careful with things you have been offered and don’t be too curious on what’s behind that next tree or underneath that rock you have overturned. All kidding aside be sure to train, prepare and do practice runs with everything.
One hundred and sixty eight hours or 7 days later it was time for redemption. The Collegiate Peaks 50 mile! The Blisters were healed (almost), the hydration and fuels for energy were in check and my curiosities were subsided. Buena Vista and the Collegiate Peaks trail were under submission and I was in control. The race started smoothly and the weather was ideal. The course was pretty tough with a wide range of terrain and elevation change. I was still in control at mile 15 with no health issues or lingering curiosities to find a cramping rock or tree. Then, at mile 17.9, I had a psychology lesson. During this lesson, 7.1 miles in distance time, I was taught through an inner conscious dialogue about the “1001 reasons to be happy with a 25 mile time and finish” and how that second 25 miles was just not in the cards for today. Well, I am here to tell ya, in ultra running you can be in the best of shape and willing to endure great pain, but if you don’t have Zen in check, it is all over. The mind is a powerful thing. It is worth mentioning that in many distances or any challenge for that matter, your body can get you half way and it’s all Zen after that. Although my training and body was still up for the task, my mind provided me a 25 mile time for Collegiate Peaks this season. No matter what went on during that psychology lesson, my 25 mile finish was decided at 17.9.
Three hundred and sixty hours or 15 days later, with my Zen fully in check, I will toe the line for the tenth annual Colfax marathon in Denver. I look forward to the people and the fun, and maybe even a PR.