Dirt in your skirt blog

Day 175… Headlamps & Mud

Posted on November 29, 2011 by Margaret Schlachter

It’s just about that time again, time to race. It’s time to toe the line, step up to the plate and do what I train to do. Yes, the next race is looming this time in Texas, the pressure and nerves of a month ago have dissipated. I am in the calm before the storm, and truly I am calm. It’s weird to be this content about something that bigger than any race or game I have played to this date, this is the first time that a cash prize is on the line. It is also the first time I am coming into a race like this coming off an injury. Yes, my ankle is not 100% better, but today after taking over two weeks off running and rehabbing it, I went for a run.

I went for a run with one of my co-workers, we set off into the woods with headlamps on, and ready for some wet, muddy, swampy, snowy trails. We ran sometimes through water, sometimes through mud up to my knees. When we got home it was around 5 miles, it took us under an hour. I realized something since this all begin, and hour long run to me in the spring felt like it lasted forever, tonight it felt short, it was just enough to test out the ankle but truly it felt short. I sit here now feeling stunned at how short it felt.
I think sometimes we get so caught up in looking forward, pushing to the next goal, we forget to reflect on how far we have come. For me how quickly my body had changed, my mind has adapted and things that were mountains truly are only mole hills. I have reached a point I haven’t known before, thinking about a nice run, I think about the 13+ mile loop which goes up and down a mountain, no big deal. A 20+ mile run seems like a nice weekend activity. I remember looking at the first ultra marathon training schedule back in the spring, trying to figure out how a person runs for over 26 miles one day then turns around and does 12+ the next. Yes, the woman who thought 45 minutes in the woods was forever in May today felt like under an hour was just a warm-up. 
So here I am days away from a race, just calm. I know I will be up against some of the best, its ok its good to race the best, it makes winning that much sweeter. I know I am racing below 100% yes, and I am ok with it, I will do my best on race day. Will I win probably not, the course is not built to my strengths. That’s ok it just means it’s that much more of a challenge, but whether I finish first or finish last on race day I will know one thing, a year ago I could have never dreamed I would be in this position today. I have put in the time, I have trained since April for these races. There is no magic pill that will add some special powers to me before race day, it comes down to the hours spent on the trails, in the gym. Yes, I am a trained. All I can do now is know I trained harder and am more prepared than my competition and when the gun is discharged turn off my brain and just go.