Okay, let’s be honest here, I signed up for the Bear Chase 100K and started having pretty nasty knee pain around mile 20. After changing my shoes at mile 25, it still persisted and eventually got so bad I was pretty sure I resembled a running Hunchback of Notre-Dame.
So I didn’t look that bad, but I was definitely hurting and not happy. By the time I completed the third lap (mile 38), I called it because I could hardly put any weight on my right leg without my knee screaming at me. C’est la vie. I still had a great time (thanks Evan for keeping me company during those first 20 miles, I was superbly entertained by your cricket bars and Celine Dion-loving self!), and I even got a medal!
After icing my knee for a few days I decided to test the waters and go for an easy lunch run. Hallelujah! The pain had lessened and I’ve only been experiencing some residual soreness since. Perhaps it was an IT band thing? Regardless, I’m disappointed with not finishing what I started, but grateful that my knee is on the mend and I didn’t do more damage than I could have. I read a blog the other day titled “9 Ultrarunning Norms You Can Break” and found some solace in the author’s perspective of DNFing:
8.) You can DNF all you want!!! Because frankly….Who gives a crap?! I remember reading a post a little while ago stating that those who DNF ultras were essentially nothing more than human garbage. Not finishing what you start is basically the worst thing imaginable. Complete failure. I say screw that nonsense! If you’re sick, fractured, twisted, fatigued, or heck…if you just want to go home, eat dinner with your family and call it a day, by all means, just do it. You can! You can stop running! It’s your life, it’s your experience, and who cares what anyone else thinks about it? I seriously doubt that when any of us are on our death beds, we will be wishing, above all else, that we had finished that dang 100 miler. Ultrarunning, as wonderful as it is, puts an intense amount of stress on the body–YOUR body. The skin that YOU have to live in every single day, and for the rest of YOUR entire life. Race wisely.
I think we all get wrapped up in self-perception and forget that you’re ultimately running for yourself. It’s easy to do in this day and age of media outlets, running groups and team sponsorships. Never forget why you began running in the first place, because at the end of the day, like the aforementioned author echoes, it’s about YOU, not them.
After my easy run went well I decided to sign up for the weekend’s Hot Chocolate 5K. My brother and sister-in-law were planning on running the 15K which meant I got to hang out with Jax while they ran.
I ended up having a great race – I felt surprisingly fresh and had a blast.
I don’t have much else on the horizon at this point, except for a half marathon and maybe some fun shorter races. I’m also trying to decide the direction I’d like to go next year in terms of goals and races. ‘Tis the season for rest and reflection.