Well, I think I came back from Tahoe Rim Trail 50 Mile with a mental injury. After DNFing at mile 30 from heat exhaustion, I wasn't quite sure how to handle it. I had DNFed (Did Not Finish) an ultra before. But this one had blindsided me in a way others didn't. It was a goal race, I had prepared, and I had trained hard. Plus those 8 miles of hallucinating and overheating and dry heaving were scary.
I came back from Tahoe and relooked at my race calendar. I was scheduled to do two more TOUGH races this race season. Tahoe was meant to be a stepping stone. So what happens when you fall down on that path?
My August race I had waited to book travel. I think I wanted to know how Tahoe would go. I had peeked at airfare race week of Tahoe and the cost was astronomical. So when I DNFed Tahoe, it was an easy "Fine, that race is out." I wasn't going to fork over 500-something dollars for that one.
But my September race.... Volcanic 50. Well, that race could be downright dangerous if stuff like what happened at Tahoe happened again. Incredibly rugged and remote, the few aid stations were all hike-in, hike-out ones, and medical came in the form of heli-vac.
I was scared. My husband Steve was really worried about me doing that race. That had to factor in to my decision some as well.
Okay, Volcanic 50 is out [AT THAT TIME, more to come]. I'm grateful for the experience at Tahoe, whatever it was, but I had been pushing and pushing basically all year, and it was tearing me down now.
I had accumulated...
- A January 50K finish in humidity, mud, and rocks.
- A huge PR at my second 50 Miler in February
- A DNF at an impulsive 50 miler in March where a blizzard rolled in but worst of all, my mind and heart just weren't with it that day.
- Produced a big inaugural half marathon in early April - worth noting because race directing wears me out tremendously.
- A DNS (Did Not Start) in April from food poisoning for an out-of-town 50 miler
- A DNF (Did Not Finish) in May when I wrecked my leg on a boulder in a fall 7 1/2 miles into a 50K. For which the scars are still super visible.
- A fantastic road marathon in South Dakota where I pushed and got a good finish time for me
- A great run at Bighorn 50K in June with a time I was proud of and a big mountain success in my book
- An exhausting but rewarding long weekend crewing the Western States 100 mile
- And now a DNF at Tahoe 50M
I was tired. I love challenges, but I was exhausted. So I said, "No August trail race. No September trail ultra race. I need something fun."
So I looked around and realized a race I had eyed enviously was coming up. The ET Full Moon Midnight Marathon and 51K. An alien theme, a midnight race, an "easy" ultra relative to these mountain races I had been pursuing. August 18 - 4 weeks after Tahoe.
I signed up... and hoped it would heal the injury I was sporting that no one could see but me.
[ET Full Moon 51K Race Report to come in the next post]