I was running hard at mile 60 of 62, blaring some sexually explicit tunes, rapidly going back and forth from laughing to wincing. Every step shot knives up my quads, but I was caffeinated, rolling with my college buddy Dylan Hesse, and life was good. The 88 degree heat started to subside, and I wasn't just jogging this one in, no sir, we were running hard.
Black Canyons 100k lit up my radar in early winter. I yearned to mentally and physically get back into the game after a rewarding but exhausting 2015 Pine to Palm. With some easy self-induced peer pressure, I signed up for Black Canyons and started training. I put in about eight weeks of focused work and came into good shape. Running is much more fun when you're in shape and the miles come easy! Big ups to the SFRC bros and birds for the continual inspiration, community, and hard work. SFRC is no small part in contributing my continued love for this sport.
I knew as early as early as mile 20 that I was putting in a good effort, and that I was going to go deep. Coming into Black Canyons, I only had two goals: run gratefully, and leave nothing on the course. Long story short, I accomplished both goals. I'm very pleased with the day. It was tough, hot, and exposed. Running with Ezra, Denise (golden ticket after winning HURT last month!), and a slew of many other speedy runners made for quick miles and lots of smiles. The pop was in my step all day. I didn't win a golden ticket--I'm no "elite" runner--but I accomplished my goals and that is plenty happy for me. It was one of my best runs within the past two years, and I think I would still say that if I finished 20th instead of 13th.
I'm up and down on everything in life on a daily basis. Black Canyons was no different. Already running hard the first 60k, I elected to start the caffeine and music at mile 40 or so. I ran even harder, flowing through the windy and rocky singletrack. With every song I became more intense and emotional, fluctuating between catharsis and pride. With still 20 miles to go, I caught up to Ezra and Denise, me wide eyed and talking loudly. I realized I ran that previous section way too hard as they had about 10 mins up on me at the prior aid station. I took out the headphones and conservatively jogged the next section until I picked up Dylan to pace me in, who did an awesome job.
Ultrarunning is just so great because you can make it whatever you want. Sometimes it's celebratory, sometimes it's painful, sometimes it's not fun, sometimes it's healing. Many times, and at Black Canyons, it was everything in one.
Props to Ez for being down to shred, to Keely for crushing the 60k, to Dylan for crewing and pacing, to fellow Ohioan Michael Owen for blasting a fast time, to ice bandanas, to not eating 30 gels ever again, and to the 1975 for making songs about drugs that I relate to running. Strava.
Can I drop the mic now?