Speaking of my form, I saw a short video clip of Ron and I as we were running somewhere around 32 miles. I was quite surprised and a little disappointed to see how some old habits had returned with the long miles. My left arm was a chicken wing, swinging tensely out to my side and my feet were splayed through the swing through. My ankles were low and I was the picture of the classic marathon shuffle! Ugh. I guess I really was tired.
|Splayed feet, low ankles and chicken wings!|
I guess I did some things right with my ChiRunning technique though as I had not been injured and for that, I am thankful!
I ran 5 miles on Wednesday. Probably should have stopped around 3, but I was eager to enjoy the trail. My right hamstring began to tense up and I ended up walking a bit. I walked yesterday and will do the same today. No hurry. It would be nice to enjoy this beautiful fall weather before it snows. One more good run on the TRT would be wonderful next week.
Last night I wrote a letter to the Board of the American Trail Running Association. The October issue of the magazine, Trailrunner, had been included in the swag that was provided to the race’s runners. Ironically, there was an article in this particular issue about how the ATRA is working on “providing guidelines for a race-sanctioning system” to “help racers be reassured that the course will be vetted for things like safety, distance accuracy, placement and stocking of aid stations and course markings.” ATRA President Adam Chase also said, “There’s nothing worse than preparing for and traveling to a race, only to get lost because it was poorly marked.”
In my letter to President Adam Chase, Vice President Ellen Miller and Executive Director Nancy Hobbs, I told them about my story with the Rock ‘N River 50 Mile – how Ron and I and 200 other runners took a wrong turn, how we felt little support from race management to get on the right course, and how little empathy was shown to the frustrated, angry and disappointed runners who had to abandon goals at the very beginning of a race.
It was good to write about it to someone who has some authority in the trail running community, but mostly I wanted to let the Board know that sanctioning guidelines would be welcomed by this runner. I wrote:
“I believe that standards in sport create respect between athletes and race organizations and make our commitment and accomplishments meaningful. Creating guidelines for trailrunning and ultrarunning race sanctions is personal for me. It's significant that as the representative of our trailrunning community, the ATRA let race organizers know that there is a standard that the trailrunning/ultrarunnning community expects. I'm counting on you.”
I have had similar disappointment in sport before on a much bigger stage. In 1982, I tied for fourth place in the Hawaii Ironman. For those of you old enough to remember, that was the year that Kathleen McCartney passed Julie Moss about 100 yards from the finish as Julie struggled, crawling across the finish line. It was this dramatic finish that ABC Wide World of Sports used to bring triathlon into the public spotlight creating a new passion in endurance sports.
|I have the t-shirts and the trophies for Fourth and Tenth that year|
|Julie stumbled and fell multiple times in those last yards.|
So, in many ways, what happened at the Rock ‘N River race last weekend was a completion and validation of emotions and maturity for me of those events in
30 years ago. My return to running and racing this past year has been so much more than the ability to achieve something physically. Getting lost last weekend proved to be a wonderful experience – I got to enjoy the loving support of family and friends; I got to run the race with my running partner and wonderful friend; I got to encourage others during the race to keep moving, walking with them, and talking to them; I allowed all the chi/energy to flow positively in every encounter and experience during the race. And, importantly, I enjoyed the race despite our poor start and was able to experience the enormous accomplishment. Everything I set out to achieve with my journey to train for a 50 mile race had come to be and then some. Hawaii
I’m at peace with who I am as an athlete, but more importantly, who I am as a human being.