Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Black Warrior Highs and Lows

Time is a cruel mistress, yet without it how would we function?  I have spent quite a span of time in the sport of ultrarunning.  My mind still flows with the giddiness of a teenager on a first date, but my body requires 'extra' attention when it comes to putting my feet to the trail.  My left hamstring has been 'tight' for so long that I am sure it is nothing but scar tissue at this point.  Indeed my stride length is probably half of what is was 'back in the day.' Hmmm, 'back in the day', another time reference, another reminder that the future is closer than it seems.  But what can you can either sit around lamenting about your frailties, work on overcoming them, or learn to live with them...either way time will keep on ticking.

This year's Black Warrior 50K trail race marked a statistical point for my running.  Useless information to most, but since running is a big part of my life, it is something to which I pay a modicum of attention.  The win marked the 19th consecutive year in which I have won an ultramarathon.  That knowledge and about five dollars will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks...well maybe you don't need the knowledge.

Black Warrior has an 'old school' race feel.  Lots of familiar faces with the same sickness as I.  We all gather around the campsite area and find something to complain about (in a good, jovial way). Then one has to make their way just under 1/2 mile just to get to the starting line.  I find it funny the amount of complaining I hear about that short walk, when we are about to run 31 miles.  The race lends itself to speed, when the course is dry; however when the rain has saturated the ground and the horse traffic has pounded sections of the trail into a puddy like sludge, the speed factor gets thrown into the mud along with everything else.

I had a fun for most of the race, which is nice, but I really ran out of gas after about 20 miles.  All things are relative and finish times are simply the time it takes you to finish, but each individual (who has a few races under their belts) know when a race is 'good' and when it is 'not so good' regardless of the time.  Despite the win, the race was in the 'not so good' feeling category. I fought waves of queasiness and low energy the last part of the race.  Luckily, or perhaps unluckily, I have completed enough of these races to know how to is not fun and it takes an effort to follow my rule of always smiling and thanking the volunteers, but I did. And sure enough that old clock kept ticking, and before I knew it, I was finished, showered, slept, and wrote this musing.  Time is like that, all one can do is mark it down...capture the moment...then move on with the flow.

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