In the late evening hours a few weeks ago, an email popped up on my phone that would lead to a complete reevaluation of my mindset. My goal since the beginning of Summer was to finally succeed in a challenge I’ve had for myself for over 3 years - cross the finish line of my first ultramarathon.
The Muleskinner 50 Miler was to be my first attempt at the distance, and I was ready. I had just completed my longest training run of 50k (also a personal longest distance) and I was feeling strong and ready for the trail. Unfortunately, the Delaware & Lehigh Trail (D&L) had been destroyed in some sections due to the flooding from Hurricane Ida. The race director made the right call for the safety of the runners and the state of the trail, but it was still incredibly disheartening.
So, now what?
My motivation to get out the door was gone, and the negative impact of removing my running goal so suddenly was immediate. I struggled to maintain a positive mindset and the stress and anxiety of my job built quickly. I attempted to maintain some level of consistency, but I did not finish any of these runs with a sense of accomplishment or meaning.
This weekend, I had decided to head out for a run in the misty afternoon. During my run, I realized something - the last few weeks had not been filled with meaningless runs. Instead, I was hitting the reset button. By giving myself some distance mentally, emotionally, and physically from running, I allowed myself to regain my perspective on what enamored me with the sport in the first place. The continuous forward progress. The daily grind. The satisfaction of a post-run smoothie or coffee. The “Do Not Disturb” mode I switch my phone into as I take my daily vacation to lock myself into something I truly love. And of course, the knowledge that with each run, I get a little better and a little closer to a better version of myself.
I’ve signed up for the Naked Bavarian 40 Miler taking place in March. This was my first ultramarathon and my first DNF. I’m attacking this challenge with a new appreciation for the course and for the preparation required to cross the finish line.
Most important of all, I’m thankful for the race cancelation that ultimately led me to this newfound excitement of the sport.
UESCA Certified Running Coach
ACE Certified Personal Trainer