This was my second time to run the Possum Kingdom Trail Run put on by Dave Hanenburg and the endurancebuzzadventures family. It's a great race and a good excuse to get out of the city a little bit. Last year, I was healthy and in decent shape, and was able to finish the 52 miler. I even considered it more or less a training run for a 50 miler in the mountains a couple of months later. That “training run” turned out to be a lot more challenging than I envisioned, but I was able to put my head down and finish the race.
This year, I've battled a foot injury for a number of months and was glad just to be able to toe the line for this one, picking the 20K as the “easier” distance. It was only easy in that the distance was one that I knew wouldn’t flare up my injury. It turns out that running these shorter distances is pretty darn hard since everyone seems to think that we ought to run faster since we don’t have to go as far.
In some sense, this kind of race was kind of good for me. I let out a lot of the frustration of dealing with an injury. Frustration at having to pass on a couple of races because I knew they would probably make the problem worse and frustration at not being able to run as much as I am used to…and so I went ahead and poured some of that into the run. Before the race, I thought of how some psalms are full of praise and thanksgiving but some are also full of lamentation, even anger. So I let some of that out during the run. I think that’s normal as long as it’s momentary, not eating you inside, or affecting how you treat others. In my case, I just channeled that energy in to the run.
At the same time, there was great joy in finally going out to race again. For one thing, it was great to see old friends and meet some new ones. Also, I really enjoyed trying to run fast. The course has an interesting mix of both surfaces and terrain and you have to choose when and where to push. For me, this meant running hard up the hills and then letting gravity take over on the downhill. One of the real moments of joy included really letting my feet fly running down hill to the point that I could hear and feel the breeze going by my ears. Maybe you remember that sensation from your childhood when you ran as fast as you could everywhere you went. That’s what it felt like.
One bonus to turning 40 this year…I won my age group!