It’s been a month since the race. I wish I had written sooner. I’ve run 20-25 miles a week following the race and I’m happy with that. I’m running when and because I feel like it now. I love training, with the structure and accountability it requires, but sometimes it gets to be stressful because of the time drain. And the fatigue. So it’s nice to run longer when I feel like it and run shorter when I feel like doing that. It’s kind of my favorite time period of running, when a race is done and all the rules go out the window. But I know that feeling won’t last forever. Eventually, I’ll want to do another one. I only really have one more goal with this kind of running though, and that’s to finish a 100-miler in less than 24 hours. Not too tall of an order I don’t think, and then I’ll be done. Maybe.
So, the race was good. I finished in 11:52, which under the circumstances, I will 100 percent take. It was hot and humid first of all, and the course markings were troublesome to say the least, but overall I had a really fun day. My friend Myke, who I trained with remotely for this race, was with me for half of the way, but had to stop due to dehydration. Like I said, it was hot and humid. However, three weeks later Myke got redemption and finished his first 50 mile race. So a big congratulations to him. Let’s do another one!
I don’t think I’ve ever been as prepared for a race before. Maybe it’s just that I’ve done enough of these races to know what to expect. I think that’s part of it, but not the whole thing. The training had a big impact on my preparation of course, and all the walking I do at work doesn’t hurt either. I don’t know, I just felt like the whole day was very predictable in terms of pace, nutrition, hydration, etc. All the running stuff. I just sort of chugged along happily with no real setbacks or speed bumps. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was easy, but at no point was I in the pain cave. I couldn’t even see the opening to the pain cave. That’s largely because I wasn’t concerned with pace, though. I was just trying to finish in under 12 hours.
The race itself was a good one that I wouldn’t mind doing again. All the people were great, as they always are with ultras. The weather wasn’t great, but it’s usually not that hot from what the race director kept saying. Although, climate change. And the course “markings” were not great either, but in all honesty I only went in the wrong direction twice. Once early on with Myke, and we didn’t get but about 50 feet off track before another runner hollered at us and pointed in the right direction. And once at the end, like less than a mile left. I had to figure that one out on my own. It took me about a quarter of a mile before I realized something was wrong, then I took out my phone and Google-mapped my way to the finish line. Aside from all that stuff, the one thing the race really has going for it is the location. There are lots of sights to see in New Orleans, in and around the city. Also, before and after the race, just being in New Orleans was lots of fun. I had great company too!
I said earlier that my only goal left as far ultras go is a sub-24 hour 100. I guess that’s kind of a recent realization I’ve come to. With work and my aging body (seriously, I am not in my 20s anymore, barely still in my 30s), I can’t imagine what I would feel like in ten or twenty years if I kept on running ultras. So, I think I will be fine with achieving that goal and calling it a day. Of course, my plan is to never stop running completely. I love it too much.