This is a very belated post as I have been very busy but I wanted to be sure to get it down. After doing the Mt. Magazine 18 miler trail run as a training run, I knew that I was feeling much better about the HHT injury and had more confidence going into Jemez.
But despite feeling better, my last ultra was exactly one year ago at this race where I hobbled in injured and knew that I would not be running again for a long time. The pain from that run was so lasting that when my family and I got to Jemez this year, I began to have some serious pre-race jitters.
This was a fun end of school year camping trip for the family. We took the pop-up camper and were going white water rafting the Sunday after the race. But Friday afternoon as I was setting up camp in the parking lot at the Posse Shack (Start/Finish area), I could not get the pop-up to crank up. The cranking mechanism was completely stripped! Long story short - we had to buy a tent to sleep in for the rest of the trip and I fixed and sold the pop-up when we got back to Oklahoma.
Friday night was rather sleepless in that tent. I really didn't want to do the race. I guess I was just scared because it hurt so much last year, I thought it would hurt again this year. But there was no way I was not going to start. I DNS (did not start) at a race five years ago and still have not forgiven myself for that one. Once we started my nervousness did not abate even though I had already decided to drop to the 50K distance instead of the 50 miler. As we ran in the pre-dawn darkness, I began to really doubt why I was doing this at all. I moved really slowly and as we climbed up Pajarito Mountain, I thought about dropping out. The altitude was already killing me and I felt ghost pains where my injury used to be and convinced myself that I was really doing damage but I think that was an excuse.
The self-doubt and negativity would not go away so finally around mile 10 we crossed the road to the ski lodge on the way up the mountain. I knew my wife Suzanne would know where this was as we scouted the location the night before. I decided I would call her and have her come pick me up. I exited the trail and sat down for a while to contemplate it. I finally decided to call. I pulled out my cell phone (which normally I don't take with me on trail runs but that's how nervous I was) and I turned it on and the phone said "searching" - no signal! Well shit! I guess I have to keep moving now.
So I climbed Pajarito and down to the ski lodge at mile 18 or 19. From there it is all downhill so I had to continue now. I certainly didn't run my best race by any means but my goal was to finish comfortably and without pain. I did that and was able to run the entire way in. Which means my injury is much better if not healed and that is exciting news.
That night we had a wonderful dinner in Taos -
And the next day - white water rafting with me and the kids! The water was really moving and it was great fun! -