I want you to think back over the past couple of years, or even as far back as elementary school. When was the last time you fell flat on your face? Maybe playing soccer in high school; maybe mountain biking on a challenging trail; or maybe learning to ride a bike? Well, I have the privilege of saying that I have successfully fallen flat on my face twice in the past 5 weeks. Now that takes talent.
Fall #1: After my encounter with an ultra superstar I was super motivated to get in some trail work. I decided on Deer Creek Canyon southwest of Denver, which ended up being a extra challenging climb (over 1,000ft) with rewarding views. I made it all the way to the top of the canyon, but then let my brain relax... so I didn't see the tree root that propelled me in slow motion through the air and onto the dusty trail. Falling 10 seconds earlier would have meant falling on rocks and guaranteed a sprained ankle or wrist. Falling 10 seconds later and the trail would have been so narrow that I may have tumbled a few feet down a hill. The good: Dirt is "soft" so I just bruised my right arm, scraped my knees, and covered myself in dust. The bad: I was the furthest point (7 miles) from my car and had to force myself to keep going.
Fall #2: Last week at work was long and tiring as I was in charge or putting on a 3 day conference here in Denver. Exhausted, despite 10 hours of sleep, I decided to go on a short, easy run yesterday afternoon in my neighborhood. One block into the run I noticed bushes coming up that blocked my running path on the sidewalk so I hopped down into the street. I was feeling good, relaxed, and BAM I was on the ground. I had tripped over some black top that stuck out over the concrete. The good: I was only 1 block from home. I also may have found a new talent in how to properly fall as I came away with minimal scratches and bruises on my right knee, scratches on my right hand and some road rash on my right shoulder, but no broken bones, fractures, sprains or head bumps. The bad: I have some pretty bad whiplash and hyper-extended my right pinky finger.
So, what do you do when you fall down? I guess the best I've found is to 1.) get back up, 2.) take care of yourself, and 3.) set things free. To be honest, training for an ultra while balancing a full-time job, family time, and volunteering is tough. I'm tired and I haven't been running as much as the schedule says I should. I've been trying to find time for myself and focusing on getting some rest. These past 6 weeks I have been running an average of 2-4 times per week. While it's less than planned, I am proud to say I ran 26.5 miles two weeks ago and didn't feel really sore afterwards. In fact it was awesome!
When I expressed concern to my husband tonight that I only have 2 weeks before the race and that I'm nervous since I haven't run any of my long runs the past 2 weeks except my 26 miler he said "And what happens if you don't finish? It's not the end of the world. But you've run 26. You can do 31. Even if you have to walk some parts, you know you have it within you to finish." How true. There really is nothing I can do in the next 13 days that will physically alter my race (except falling again and spraining an ankle), now it's a mental game that I'm playing. I've put in almost 8 months of training to get to this point. Now it's time to set my worries free and enjoy the final days or preparation. September 30th here I come!