Lessons Learned from coming up Short

2 12 2008

See below for Della’s race report following the JFK 50 miler, then enjoy the ‘caring and compassionate’ response from her Coach.

Just a note to let everyone know that unfortunately, I was not able to complete my goal of finishing a 50 mile race last Saturday. Falling twice on the Appalachian Trail reinjured my right ankle that I had already badly sprained twice this season. The sharp stabbing pains shooting up the front of my leg that started somewhere around mile 21 slowed me down enough that by mile 27 I knew I wasn’t realistically able to make it to the next time cutoff at 35 miles by the time cutoff for that aid station, but I was still going to try until my husband Tom stepped in front of me and stopped me from going on and hurting my ankle even more.

The good news and lessons learned from this:

1. It was still an awesome experience. The sights, scenery, and camaraderie of the other participants in the race was absolutely fabulous.

2. I learned that my hydration, food and Endurolyte intake plan was just about perfect.

3. I learned that I need to trust only myself and can’t rely on others. For e.g., other veteran runners of the race and aid station volunteers told me incorrect information re cutoff times along the course.

4. I learned that I am ditching my Garmin for the next race (that doesn’t properly register in wooded areas) and replace it with a simple digital sports watch.

5. I learned that I was properly trained for endurance (I am not really sore or fatigued, except for my foot/ankle), and for downhill running (quads feel great!), but I still need to readjust my training plan to include more speed and hill work for my next attempt at the race (It was a little over 5,000 ft elevation climbing in the 27 miles, and I hadn’t anticipated that much elevation climbing or that it would still be that difficult starting at sea level).

6. I learned that I have to anticipate and train better for extreme cold, or warm weather (It was 17 degrees at the start and never got above freezing with constant headwinds)

So it’s off to the orthopod on Dec. 2nd to see what I need to do to get my foot and ankle back to normal, then on to train again for the 2009 season, leading to the 2009 JFK 50 race! A true 50 at 50!!

Oh yeah, I also learned that Tom loves me so much that he even agreed to run it with me next year!!!

Run strong. Live long.


Dear Della,

I am really sick of all this coddling, so I am going to give it to you straight.

If you can’t run 50 miles the first time you try, there must be something wrong with you (you too Dave and Cindi). After all, it was just a handful of years ago that people thought running under a 4 minute mile would kill you and running a marathon (a mere 26 miles) was a feat of Herculean effort- so much so woman were not even allowed in the sport. I mean come on- 50 miles? What’s the big deal, that’s just running from my home in Boulder to my office in Denver….and back…which takes me over two hours a day by bus, bike, foot and shuttle.

The journey? What’s that all about? Running for 10 to 15 hours? Pshaw! Anyone can do that, can’t they? Anyone can train like it’s their full time job and their singular focus because we all know that is what is required to build up the courage to even enter an ultra, can’t they? Can’t everyone run nearly 30 miles and have that be their bad day? The day when they didn’t perform to expectation?

Basically, if you can’t endure running an hour’s car drive at 50 MPH over impossible terrain when you have only been running for a few years, well I think you really need to consider your commitment to the sport. It’s only 50 miles after all, just 200 laps around the track or 99,999 steps.

Basically Della- turn in your running shoes.

Hope to see you this January for ultra training Part 2.






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