There are no trails I’ve run more, no course I know better. And yet, no race has plagued me more. A missing finish line three years ago due to a monsoon rolling in, a DNF of the 52k with only 3 loops completed two years ago, and a DNF last year in the 10k- yes, 10k, because of dizziness and a spiking heart rate coming off of a virus bout. So, needless to say, I had a score to settle with the Vertigo course last night.
After a good race at Adrenaline, I’d bumped myself up to the 31k at Vertigo. But after a month of bronchitis and other issues, I was back down to the 10k due to a huge lack of training. My goal for last night: finish and have some fun. No time goals-just have a solid race without getting sick.
With the start of the race being almost 10 degrees lower than historical temps, I knew the upper 90 degree temperatures and humidity would be a challenge, but not as brutal as Hypnosis had been (which I missed this year due to sickness). I was feeling great and I was mentally prepared for the areas of suckage along the course that get me every time.
And so, we set off- slowly grinding up the inclines that would be our friends for the first few miles. I kept telling myself to run my own race, ignore the racers that were passing me and just focus on staying in the moment and enjoying the ride.
And that I did, as I continued to grind on through the course; Singing songs in my head, chatting with fellow runners periodically. Before I knew it, we were at the big hill- which I always allow myself to fast hike. This would save my legs for the technical back section of the course and give me a small breather before tackling the second half.
After I rounded the back of the mountain, I found myself leading a small train of runners that didn’t want to pass, just wanted to hang out behind me. But, as we were in the same section where I had to drop last year, I was feeling pressure to keep up a pace I wasn’t comfortable with. I wasn’t running my own race. So, I pulled to the side for a short walk to force them to pass and allow me to establish my own rhythm again.
Pulling into the main aid station, I forced myself to refill my bottles- more for the cold water to dump on my body than for extra water to drink. And during those last few relentless miles, it would be my saving grace as I used the water to cool my neck every few minutes.
And finally the finish line was in sight. While lack of training didn’t make this my best race ever, forcing myself to run my own race and have more fun during the process made for a really great night. Sometimes, we get so focused on the end goal that we miss the journey. Here’s to living in the moment and truly enjoying the ride!
Final result: 1:13:05 for a 6 minute PR, 12th Female out of 83
***Special thanks to all of my wonderful sponsors: Aravaipa Running, for putting on a great race; Squirrel’s Nut Butter, for keeping me chafe free; and SolRx Sunscreen, for protecting my skin in the brutal sun while I train. And thank you always to my husband, son, and parents, for being a constant support.
*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.”