|Posted by Clay Williams on June 12, 2017 at 4:05 AM|
When I registered for this event (50 km Saturday, 42.2 km Sunday), I wasn't sure I would do very well because it was to be two weeks after I ran 200 miles. But it turned out to be not quite so. It was two weeks after I crashed and burned at Sulphur Springs and ran only 150 of the 200 miles. And four weeks prior to that I had run only 71 miles of my 90 mile target distance at O24 in Ohio. So by the time I started the Ultimate Canuck, I was feeling far less than confident that I was much of a runner any more. I suppose that sounds extreme, but I had started to think that I was just getting older, and getting slower was just the result of aging, and maybe I just didn't have what it takes anymore.
When I started the run on Saturday morning, I really wanted to know if my poor performance at O24 was really due to my back pain, and at Sulphur was due to my cold, because those were the excuses I was using. In the first 50 km stage I ran solid for the first 25 km, uphills, flats, everything, because I knew that when I started to walk my back would start to hurt. And I felt great. I walked a few hills in later laps, and a few flat sections due to back pain, but stopped at the aid station during a later lap to stretch and massage my back with a lacrosse ball. Even though it was a slow 50k, I still felt pretty good at the end of the day.
Day two was really my vindication. I HAD TO keep running as long as I could, not so much to record a good finishing time, but more to really see how far that was, and keep up the power walk thing when I became too sore to run. The heat definitely slowed my metabolism down, but I kept the slow loping run going for the first 25 km, and power walked the hills, and stayed moving without overheating. By 35 km or so my feet and lower legs were getting sore. I took this as a good sign, I was pushing hard enough that at least SOME muscles were getting overworked. The day was beautiful, sunny, warm, light breeze, and I was so happy with my run that I had my headphones cranked up high and was signing out loud most of the last lap. (sorry for that image) It felt REALLY good to be thinking only of the finish line, not mentally exploring excuses to quit. It just felt really good to be able to make my body do what I wanted it to do.
As I ran across the finish line, Thunderstruck was blaring in my earbuds, and I was waving the Canadian flag. I was in my happy place and I thought: "yeah, I'm a runner."