I knew this race was gonna hurt. And it most definitely did. But it was also gorgeous and exhilarating and amazing.
When my alarm went off at 5am and I could hear the wind rattling the window of our house, I knew that my asthma might become an issue. What with the recent change in temperature over the last week moving us from blazing heat to freezing cold. At least freezing cold for us in Arizona.
And so, I, along with the 150 or so other 25km racers at the McDowell Mountain Frenzy by Aravaipa Running, huddled around the portable heaters and fire pits while waiting for the race to begin. After the start, which is filled with rolling hills and a little bit of climbing, my lungs began to burn immediately. Lack of proper oxygen lead to my abs cramping, forcing me to slow down from the start. It took almost 6 miles before I got my legs under me.
Around mile 6, I started to feel better and began to cruise. Trying to enjoy the beauty around me without taking a header on a wayward rock. Twisting and turning, climbing and descending, I continued on the first loop of the course, the 10 mile loop. But, my asthma would continue to rear its ugly head from time to time and I found that speeding up was a challenge, and stopping would be worse. So I plugged along, hydrating as much as possible because dehydration is an even bigger trigger for asthma.
As I neared the start/finish line, knowing that I still had a tough 5 mile loop to go, I started to wish I’d signed up for the 10 mile race. But there was no way I was quitting. So after a quick refill of my handhelds with water, I headed back out for the final 5 miles.
I knew that my A goal time was out of the picture at this point, but my B goal was still very doable. But, it meant pushing harder than my body wanted to at that point. And, as my ultrarunner friends definitely know, as long as you aren’t ignoring signs of injury or other issues, sometimes you just need to tell your body to be quiet, and get it done. That’s what the final loop was for me today, sucking it up, pushing through, and realizing that I can do a lot more than I think I can.
After a few final cruel climbs, the end was in sight and I was ready to call it a day and go eat my post-race quesadilla. With a final push and a loud yell, I crossed the finish line of arguably, one of my toughest mental races yet – Exhausted and happy, finishing under my B goal time. 25km done, 2 hours and 56 minutes.
***Special thanks to all of my wonderful sponsors: Aravaipa Running, for putting on yet another amazing race; Squirrel’s Nut Butter, for keeping me chafe free; Honey Stinger, for keeping me fueled; Acel Compression, for keeping my legs, feet and calves healthy; and SolRx Sunscreen, for protecting my skin in this brutal sun. And to my husband and son- thank you for always supporting me in everything I do and my parents, for listening to me talk for hours on end about this crazy sport that I love so much.
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free or at a discount. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”