It’s hard to believe that in a couple of days I will be running The North Face 50. The fact that I am toeing the line (in the Elite wave no less) and the way all of this happened is pretty nuts. The North Face 50 has been a race I have watched from afar through the years. Some how I always knew long distance running would be in my future but just didn’t know when. The race is kind of the Super Bowl of ultrarunning in the US. There’s a big prize purse, all the fast dudes show up, and there’s NO holding back.
How did I end up here…. dumb luck, destiny, fate??? Who knows…. Here’s a quick recap….
After Kona last year I spent a lot of time on my bike, started crossfit, and ran a bit. When the new year came I stopped running and just raced my bike. I didn’t run a step for about 3 months. In March my life kind of got turned upside down. I quit racing altogether, started running again, and just a week back running Slater asked me to pace him in the Zion 100 miler. Outside of running my life was mess and I was a wreck. So I (way to quickly) built up my mileage and a month later ran 40+ miles (2 shifts) of the Zion 100 Slater and it was truly life changing. By far it was the most running I had ever done in a single day. It was early may and I was still not in good place with my life but the final 18 mile shift of running with Slater in the middle of night, ripping some epic single track made everything bad in my brain shut off. I realized again how much I love running, not racing, just running.
Needless to say that long weekend in Utah changed me… in a good way. On the drive back Slater and the crew talked me into jumping the Holocomb Valley 33 miler. I didn’t tell anybody other than Slater but that following week I also signed up for the North Face 50. I still don’t have any idea what possessed me to do so. It was months away, I had never run a standalone marathon, 50k, or any race over 13.1 miles. I just knew that the running was making things better, goals are good, and it was a race that I knew I wanted to do someday.
I had a bit of setback on all fronts after Zion and I kinda forgot about TNF50. Being back home things got really rough for me again, but I kept running. Unfortunately my overzealous return running left a mark and I had shin splint that wouldn’t go away. I actually though I may have had a stress fracture. I ran the Holocomb Valley 33 miler and finished 4th overall. It was fun, but super hard for sure… but I was hooked. However my shin was getting worse. I cut my running WAY back ~20 miles/week. Then in mid July I jumped into the Lake Stevens 70.3 in Washington. It was just for fun and I had fun, but the 13.1 run was maybe the worse run of my life in any race, definitely the slowest. It was time for a break…. from everything.
So I stopped running again after Lake Stevens to let my shin heal. Not a big deal. I wasn’t worried about it because at this point The North Face 50 wasn’t even really on my radar or any other races for that matter. It was still over 4 months away and I still really didn’t even think I would do it. I was more concerned with just getting my life back together. I was more focused on just making it through the days as it was clear that my life was changing every way.
After 2.5 of weeks of no running I woke up one morning and noticed I didn’t have any pain or any sensation in my shin going down the stairs, which hadn’t been the case for months. So in early August I eased back into running over the next couple of weeks and on the 21st I started 30 days of running #30in30. Those 30 days changed me in many ways. I still wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my running, but looking back now this was the turning point for everything I had going on in my life and also when I started to become a runner again. During that 30 days I unexpectedly won Endure the Bear 50k and for the first time actually considered toeing the line at The North Face 50.
Over the next couple of months I kind of put myself through a running boot camp. In the 2 months leading up to this coming weekend I have done the following:
- The Bromantic weekend getaway with Slater in Cuyamaca – Mega trail time
- San Jancito Tram/PCT run with Toby & Airey (30+ miles)
- Xterra Pt. Mugu 18k – 2nd Ag, 5h OA
- Whoo’s in El Morro 50k – 1st OA in 3:44
- Lake Hodges 50k – 1st OA in 3:47
- R2R2R – Life Changing!
- Griffith Park Trail Half Marahon – 3rd OA
“One of the happiest moments ever is when you feel the courage to let go of what you can’t change.”
”i won’t be a ghost of a man who’s ashamed of his death, push the pace, watch the clock tick away, we progress, shake it off, carry on!”