Failed Ultra Weekend

“Why didn’t you go to the Tuesday night run?”

Because Beautiful Beastie yelled at me…

For not resting. Before our 50k.

Turns out she was right.

As usual.

I may have overdone it this week.

Two early morning runs up Mill Mountain before 5am HIIT class and Thursday night trail run was enough to ruin my legs for today.

It shouldn’t have been.

That shouldn’t have been enough to make what we did Saturday morning just so completely impossible for me.

The real problem was these fucking shoes.

I was so excited to find some Altras that I could afford. Because sale.

They’ve got that wide-ass toe box. So your toes are still happy at the end of a run.

But they’re also minimalist.

Which means there is no bounce. And apparently bounce is how I’ve been managing ultras these last few years.

Apparently I don’t have any actual strength in my legs. It has been my shoes actually doing all the work.

So, when we started out, BB and North Mountain Overlord took off. Because they can do shit like that.

And everyone else got caught behind me.

And because Dru Hill was one of those people. And I never get to run with her. I took off at a pretty strong pace. For me. Because I wanted to impress her.

And that desire to impress her lasted for about 3.28 miles.

And then I stepped aside and let her take off. With KG in tow.

Leaving only K-Rob-D and Dude With The Charming And Disarming Smile behind me. Arguing over which of them should get to sweep.

So by the time we hit the first major climb. At 5 miles in. I. Was. Struggling.

But I chalked it up to my complete inability to fuel properly before a long run. And started shoving food into my face. As K-Rob and Dude took off up the mountain.

“This is her snack climb. She’ll be fine.”

K-Rob gets me.

I knew that Rogue and Finn’s Dad were gonna meet us at mile 8 with some snackies. And water. So I just kept those visions in my head.

And hours later, I managed to get to the top of the three mile climb. And over to Rogue’s aid station. Before everyone took off again.

At which point, I somehow ended up with BB behind me.

And she’s doing her best to get me ready for Jarman’s. And Mountain Masochist.

So she made me run. When I would have been perfectly content walking.

I don’t say no to BB. I say ugly things. Inside my head. Where she can’t hear them.

She’s gonna make me better. If it kills one of us.

Me. It’s probably gonna kill me.

We hit the top of Hammond Hollow and my legs were reluctant, but willing to allow gravity to force them to continue running. But they were also perfectly happy about the downed trees every 15 feet requiring them to stop and climb over.

At the start of the descent, North Mountain Overlord ran past me. Saying something about probably slowing up before he got to the bottom.

“Well. Just make sure you don’t slow the rest of us up…”

That’s sarcasm. In case you can’t read it. Because my man hit the bottom of the trail. And then turned around and climbed back up. In the time it took me to reach the bottom.

Hit the fire road and started the two mile trek over to the next major climb. With Rogue and Finn’s Dad.

And when I kept them from going off course.

Yes. I kept them from going off course.

They said, “Good thing you’re with us.”

It was a good thing I was with them.

They said that.

I basically saved their lives.

But then we started the climb up Spec Mines. And they just took off.

And I tried keeping up.

Until a rock grabbed hold of my foot. And threw me to the ground. And my shit just went flying everywhere.

Stood up. And the whole fucking Mountain was spinning. So I waited until that little merry go round slowed down.

Then I gathered all my shit back up. And continued slowly up the trail.

Got to the Montvale Overlook. Where BB’s trail angel of a mom had cold water and cold clementines for us.

And thank fuck. Because I was running through my water at a massive pace.

As I was tripping my way back across the AT over to Blackhorse Gap. My brain was working through some things.

I was 17 miles into a 30 mile run.

I had already climbed about 4,000 feet.

If I continued on the full loop, I was looking at at least one more major climb. (It actually would’ve been two more.) And at least another 1,500 feet of climbing. (It actually would’ve been another 2,500 feet.)

Girl, look. Do you see how we’re stumbling over every other rock up here? On this gradual climb? Do you really think that committing us to another actual climb is in your best interest?

But I really wanna see crazy dude who thinks he owns a public road. I’m itchin for a fight these days.

Girl, look. You can’t fight crazy dude in this condition. And you can’t outrun him. You’ll die. And he’ll use your body to fertilize his garden. While everyone else is headed back to the parking lot for creek beers.

Do you really wanna miss out on creek beers?

So when I finally crawled my way out of the AT to Blackhorse Gap. I called it.

I can’t do a single notha major climb.

But I can probably make it over to Doty Ridge.

And happily, K-Rob was willing to dip out with me.

So we left Rogue and Finn’s Dad to follow BB on her completion of the full 31 mile 6,500 foot elevation run.

And K-Rob lovingly mother-voiced me down the parkway over to Doty Ridge.

And I spent that time telling her how much these Altras hated my legs. And the unreasonable amount of work they expected my muscles to contribute to the actual running.

And K-Rob understood. Because she has been running in the exact same shoe for a while now. (Without complaining about the unfair workload, oddly enough.)

And I also spent some time explaining. In great detail. How all of the food I’d been frantically shoving into my face over the last 20 miles was just sitting there in my stomach. Undigested. While my stomach continued to growl.

I had a stomach full of food.

And I was starving.

And once we hit the rock-covered bitch that is Doty Ridge. I had a thought.

So, those little grey inserts that come with these shoes, are those to protect your feet from these rocks?

“Dude. Yes. You didn’t put those in?“

Uhhhh…no?

And that’s probably why my feet feel like someone spent last night slamming a hammer into them.

So, lesson learned.

I mean. It probably isn’t learned.

Because I love that my toes don’t feel the least bit bruised like they always do after a trail run.

So I’m probably gonna go ahead and sacrifice the soles of my feet. And my ankles. And my calves. And my overall performance and stamina.

In order to keep my toes happy.

But I’ll probably remember to put those rock guard insert thingies in from now on.

If I can find them…

23.49 miles and 4,500 feet of climbing are my Altra stats to beat.

Next time I’m gonna push through that extra .01 to make it an even 23.5.

I got goals, y’all.

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