Please forgive the click bait, SEO title. I really do have some tips to happiness in this race report. Let’s get right to them! I will include some of my race report with the tips.
- Accept that there are times when life will present you with many unexpected potholes, bad weather, illnesses, trials and troubles. For example, I was completely unprepared for this 12 hour race because of the previous six weeks of things I had no idea were coming at me like a Gulf hurricane. Literal rain, as well as figurative, it just kept coming and overwhelming me like Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Flooding Down in Texas.
- Adjust your expectations and goals to fit the new reality. As race day got closer, I gave up all expectations. I had absolutely no idea what my body would be able to do after barely running at all since my last race Wonderful, awful, fun, painful, and every other adjective. Snowdrop Ultra 55 hour 2018-19 I ran a total of 71 miles in 8 weeks , with the majority of those in two weeks and the longest run a slow trail run of 9 miles! I didn’t run the week of the race, not counting a 2 mile jog on Monday.
- Focus on what you CAN do. I knew I could walk a long way. I knew I could keep going even when tired. I knew I could run 3 hours at an easy pace with walk intervals. And that is what I did. More details later.
- Enjoy the experience for what it is. I had a blast! This race format is so great for people-watching, encouraging others, chatting, thinking, praying, etc. The course itself does not require a lot of concentration, though there were some rocks to beware of, you could relax and even look around a little. It looks 100% flat but there is a slight hill and downhill on each loop so after awhile you start to notice and I was definitely running more of the downhill and walking the ‘hills’. Some experiences will be more about learning and not so fun, but try to see some value in it.
- Help others reach their goals. This is part of the fun of trail running. The community is so willing to help each other. Look outside of yourself and see who is struggling and needs a word or some chatting or even a hug or some fuel. I had the most fun talking to people! It’s never wasted time.
- Take care of your body’s needs. I was so thirsty all day and still am. I drank tons of water and also Red Bull, coconut water and soda. The weather was very humid at the start but then got super windy and low humidity. I get dehydrated easily, more than normal people. Do what YOU need to do to keep going, not what everyone else does. We are NOT all the same. I also took in gels, mashed potatoes, a couple Honey Stinger Waffles ( gluten free), and a cheese stick. Take your B12.
- Don’t give up too soon. If you feel tired, check your fuel and hydration, slow down, find someone to talk to. A lot of times the lows will pass. I usually bonk at 3 hours and I did. I managed a good pace up to that point. I didn’t let it get me down. I just kept eating, drinking, and going and eventually I was feeling okay again and running more than walking. On the other hand, it’s okay to quit when things are just not going to happen. Don’t hurt yourself because you are too stubborn to know when to try again another day.
- Set intermediate goals. I kept my goals VERY loose based on my lack of training, but I did have some ideas. I figured I could run 3 hours since I had done a 2.5 hour trail run two weeks ago. I figured I could make it to a marathon since I have done that many times. I figured I might be able to make 50k, and who knows , maybe 50 miles. What happened was I made it to a marathon around 6:20, 50k at 7:45, and after that I walked a little too much to make 50, but I got to 41 miles!!! The exciting thing is the marathon and 50k time are pretty normal for me, on trail, so I was still within my personal fitness ability despite the lack of training. Be proud of yourself for trying.
- Be kind to yourself and others . Supporting others is a great way to boost your own mood. And loving yourself is important, too. Don’t beat yourself up for ‘failing’ to meet some goal you set when you had no idea what the future would bring. Do the best you can with what you’ve got and try again next time. You’ll be happier if you don’t dwell on the past. There were friends of mine at this race who did not meet their goals at their last race. They didn’t give up! They knew that they’d get another chance and they kept that goal in mind. They met their goals! I’m super proud of them. Keep trying.
- Try something new! This race is different than most. You run a half mile out on a gravel ranch road, then make a U-turn around an orange cone, and run back to the start on the same road. Sounds crazy, right? Well you might be shocked to know that some people were there for 72 hours, some 48 , some 24, 12 and 6 hours! The details are here. The winner of the 72 hour ran 225 miles! I had said that I would never want to run this race, but I signed up on an impulse and I loved it and can’t wait to do it next year with my husband. There were people running of all ages (10-83!), paces, abilities, bodies and motivations. Some were carrying heavy packs (rucking). It was truly inspiring.
- Trust God with your life. Present and eternal. This is the true secret to happiness/joy. I don’t know how anyone gets through life without Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit. If you don’t know Jesus, ask me. Thank you, Lord for blessing me with another wonderful day.
Rejoice at all times. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18