When I signed up for San Diego 100 back in January I had aspirations of running fast and finishing top 5. I had a great February, March, and April of training and racing, especially at Lake Sonoma. Running with the San Francisco Running Company bros (yes, we shred hella gnar) had upped my game and stoke. May took a bit of a downturn with some major work changes involving way too much commuting and stress. I needed to get out of the bay and took an awesome long weekend to Boulder. Still, I hadn't really felt good running since Lake Sonoma, but I did it anyway cause you can't fake running 100 miles. Wednesday of race week I started to feel really achey, especially in my kidney region and neck. Thursday I felt so terrible when I got home from work that I fell asleep at eight without finishing packing. I thought I might just be really sore from a tree removal I did Tuesday. I didn't feel good Friday. I forgot my race kit at home and scrambled to put together a kit of clothes and gear from my best friends (who rule). Nevertheless with all these dumb excuses, I was going to get it done, cause that's what ultrarunners do. A lot of times we don't know how we're going to do things, but we'll figure it out. We get shit done.
At mile five I felt this weight on my shoulders. One of those huge acme cartoon weights. Everything was taking effort. My heart rate was skyrocketing from simply jogging flats. I was thinking about work and all of the things I hate. By mile 10 it felt like I had run 80. Swallowing water was hurting my throat. My backup shoes that I was wearing, which I hadn't since March, were rubbing. I hadn't felt this bad on a run since I can't remember. I more or less walked the next eight miles to the mile 18.5 aid station. I asked a volunteer for her phone and called my Dad, saying on his voicemail that I was dropping. Honestly, it was an easy decision. I easily gave my bib and bracelet to the aid station captain. My body wasn't right. I was unmotivated and unhappy. I didn't have anything to prove; I felt like I was just punishing myself. Running should not be punishment.
So, now I'm heading home for my sister's wedding (yay!) and seeing a doctor. I'm still feverish and achey. I'm disappointed but there wasn't much I could do. Every step walking was taking effort. I feel worse for my friends who came out to the race for me. BUT! Jordan Chang, the best human being on the planet, repped the Hokies in spectacular fashion and finished 11th in 21:25 at his first West Coast ultra--so stoked for you Jordy.
|Jordy pre-race bout to crush it! Photo: Chrissy|
I try to be the person I want to be: positive, happy, inspiring. I try to live like a legend. But legends aren't invincible. San Diego was my 30th official ultra-race start. San Diego was my first DNF. At some point in your ultra career you're gonna DNF, and burning the wick at all ends for the past 10 months had caught up to me. It's back to square one now. I'm not going to run again until I feel excited about the prospect of running. When I do run, I'm not going to use a GPS watch or strava, not for a good while.
I'm not invincible. Never thought I was, but now I know. And that's alright.