Work and train. Work and train. Work and work. Work and work and a little training. This past year started out pretty weird. I lost my job due to a downsizing of the company which opened up training opportunities. I trained like a beast. I was doing crossfit 5 days a week and running 6 days. It was great off season training. I have 3 big races this season and I need a miracle to even complete them.
Fast forward a few months and things have changed. I am now working 2 jobs to make ends meet. Even with 2 jobs I am making a third of what I was for the last 15 years. My body hates me now. I work 2nd & 3rd shifts and sleep a few hours a day. My bones and joints ache everyday. Training went down to just the weekends. Instead of 60-75 miles I am doing around 40. No more crossfit because of the time and recovery involved. I am not complaining because I am sure most people reading this are in the same category as me and can relate.
No matter what life throws at me I refuse to give up. I want to do superhero things. This year I signed up for a progressive race series. It is the Pennsylvania Triple Crown consisting of a 50k, 100k and 100 miler. All very technical with massive amounts of elevation gain. If I am going to do it I am going to do it the hardest way possible.
Last month I completed race #1 which was the Hyner View Challenge 50k. That had around 8,000 feet of elevation gain or so. It was hard but I had a blast. It showed that I had a strong foundation to work from with my training.
This month it was race #2 which was the Worlds End 100k. This had around 14,000 feet of elevation gain or so. I was deathly afraid of this race. Last year I choose this race as my first trail race ever. I made it to mile 50 last year in 16 hours and had to DNF (Did Not Finish). The, “What if..” syndrome was eating away at me. All this hard work and what if it rained all day like last year. What if it is 100° and humid? What if I don’t finish? ?
This race I had a little better understanding of what I was getting myself into. I had a full year of trail under my belt now. I had my wife as my crew and a friend that would meet me at mile 50 to pace me to the finish. That would force me to be awesome and not make excuses to give up.
As the race went on I think I was getting stronger. My mind was in the right place. I started to eat better and fuel more. The time at the aid stations were strategic. I changed shoes and added/removed certain clothing at the right stations. The night wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I was concerned with breaking an ankle on the technical wet ground but I just kept my head down and worked hard through it. I made it in just under the 19 hour cutoff. I am very happy with that. Now I have to figure out how to train for the Eastern States 100 in August.
I had a friend that was going to help crew with my wife. He is a great photographer and is really good with taking videos. Unfortunately he had some car issues and was unable to make it to the event. I had taken some video of the race and put together a recap on my channel. I was more concerned with surviving and not dying instead of videoing. Nonetheless I still got some good shots in the video below.
What was your toughest race and why? Do you think you trained well for it? Would you have done anything different? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from other people around the world and what they are going through.