Forgive All the Text But,
On Saturday, I finished the hardest run of my life.
I thought I had Trails4Tails in the bag. After all, I had done a 50-miler last summer, and that had been okay. It hurt—don’t get me wrong—but the first 35 miles of The Lone Ranger Ultra had been effortless. So how hard could a 40 miler be?
Pretty hard, as it turns out. Here’s my breakdown, lap-by-lap.
Lap 1 (miles 1-8)
I wanted to use my first lap to learn the course—but I wasn’t going to take the walking tour. So I went out with the top few runners. These guys were veteran trailblazers, and I must have stood out from the pack, clambering as I was over roots.
The trail led us to a slick wooden bridge and, following the other runners’ lead, I hopped diagonally onto it. My worn-out road shoes (another distinguishing feature) barely touched the surface before swinging into the air again, somewhere over my shoulders.
My fall banged me up a bit, but what’s remarkable is the reaction of the other runners, each of the top three racers stopped to make sure I was okay.
Lap 2 (miles 9-16)
I don’t remember much of this lap. There was a pain in my calf, which had started with my fall on the bridge and seemed to get worse with each mile. The knee on the same leg, which seems to have an aversion to ultras, also began bugging me. My body, used to road runs, was not adapting well to the trail.
Lap 3 (miles 17-24)
My knee was bad enough at this point to change my form. I know how foolish it is to favor one leg for over 20 miles, but the alternative was a DNF. Hence, when the inevitable happened and I tweaked the Hamstring on my other leg, there was no surprise mixed with my chagrin.
Lap 4 (miles 25-32)
This was the most frustrating lap. I was barely out of breath, but the fear of injury kept me from moving faster. My left hamstring was bulging oddly; it felt like a pain-filled brick had been planted behind my knee. My right knee had gotten better, but lifting it made my groin spasm. I seemed to kick every root, and each instance was punctuated with an embarrassing, womanly gasp.
Lap 5 (miles 32-40)
Now I was hobbling. The other runners had reappeared; some blew by, but most walked and cheered me on as I crawled past. I did some walking myself on this lap; a 30-meter downhill which, stiff-legged as I was, threatened to take me out of the race if I ran it.
Out of the 18 people who did the full race, I finished 7th. I’m humbled, but pleased; just getting to the finish line was hard enough for me.Share on Facebook