Sunday, September 1, 2013

IMTR 50. Feeling!

For two years now I've elected to spend my birthday weekend running ultras. Iron Mountain Trail Run (IMTR) is a quintessential grassroots trail race with distances of 16, 30, and 50 miles. The entry fee is $25, you don't get a t-shirt unless you want to pay extra, aid stations are stocked with the essentials, there's no blow-up banner at the finish line or chip timing, the field is 200 people, the trail is gnarly, and everyone is a friend. It's basically the best race out there, and with less than two hours from VT it's an easy choice for a summer run and a birthday present to me! I'm 22 now. Feeling adultish.

Because IMTR is so awesome it's been on my calendar all year. The timing for it is almost perfect in terms of a very long run in the Grindstone 100 build. August was insane for me in terms of training, perhaps too much, as I became a little sick of running. That's funny because now I completely identify myself as an ultrarunner. It's the "weird thing about yourself" that I tell when you do those "state your name-major-odd thing about yourself" introduction exercises. So school started this past week and it was one chaotic mess that left me grumpy and mad on Friday afternoon. I didn't want to run, let alone run for nine hours. I didn't want to deal with team logistics or mainly people in general. I was so fed up with "the system" of school and whatnot. I just wanted to sit by the pool on a sunny Friday afternoon and enjoy the first weekend of school where EVERYONE at tech goes out for late night fun. I called my mom and elected not to run IMTR. Then I took a nap and didn't set an alarm.

I slept for almost three hours. I woke up and felt better. I thought I should at least try out my gear/nutrition and whatnot, so what the heck, I'll just drive down to Damascus and see what happens. I was considering dropping down to the 30 mile option. But that's long already so why not just do the 50 and reap those benefits. I ended up having a really nice late and solo drive down listening to good tunes with the windows down on a summer night. I slept in my car in a church parking lot and had a dream where I got mugged by a couple of kids in Chicago.


My intention for IMTR from the start was to just use it as a supported long training run. My teammates had hopes/plans to run fast which was hard for me to swallow because A) when they race, I race and want to beat them (yes, I am competitive deep down) and B) I knew I wouldn't beat them because I've been training hard and I didn't rest this week; I knew they'd be ahead of me. So when the gun went off at 7am, I knew I'd be running a solo race. And I was cool with that for the most part.

I always write too much, so I won't get into it all, even though a lot of nothing happens in an 8.5 hr run. Basically I ran the majority of the race alone and was happy to do so. I sporadically let my ears enjoy the sounds the love of my life makes. I got caught in an INCREDIBLE severe thunderstorm on top of a ridge. Soaked to the bone, jumping in puddles, feeling the lovely solitude, the rain was figuratively washing away all of my cares. I no longer cared how fast I was running, what place I was going to get, how much I was getting my ass kicked by Jordy or Guy, what Horton would think. All that mattered was that I was having fun for myself. I was simply running JOYFULLY. This is why I run. I run to feel free as cliche as it is. To experience the vast spectrum of physical, emotional, and abiotic states. To feel as if nothing else in the world matters besides what I do at a single moment in time right then and there. No pressure exists. No egos exist, no world problems, no money. Just me, feeling. I believe that's the first time I've ever thought about why I actually run these things. I'll take that answer any day.

Feeling happy! (Photo: The Changs)
The Hokies really crushed it. Again! Everyone finished, and more than a few boasted incredible times. Our team is so BA and I love it when we all get together to do these things. And the breakfast buffet that followed this morning was deeelish. We're actually a fun group now, especially when we don't talk about running (what?!).


Around the marathon mark yesterday I caught up to Joe Dudak who I met during the Catawba Runaround this past March. I think we're at similar states in regards to our running. I told him I felt a tad "forced" on the day although I ended up feeling progressively better as time went on; I finished quite happy and didn't want to stop! What Joe said really resonated with me. I needed to hear it. He looked at me and said, "Relax. Dude. Your race isn't today. Your race is in five weeks (and so is mine!)." Simple but sincere. Advice like that from someone I respect as a person AND a runner is what these things are about. It's so selfish what we do, yet it's so collective. It's just running and we're all in it together. It should be fun :)

438 miles running
57,200' vert
83:08:45 total time with loads of Xtraining

Nuts. Also helps when you run a 50 on the last day of the month.

1 comment:

  1. You're report definitely resonates with mine... I'm glad I wasn't the only one who wanted to bail before getting to the starting line! I think I could echo just about everything you said in this post, and I'm sad I missed out on the thunderstorm!!