Sun Mountain 50m 2013.
“Racing while sick is overrated as being awesome/hardcore” was a message I received from Adam Campbell. He had just come back from a struggle at Transvulcania, a beastly 50 miler in La Palma in which he ran while sick and knew exactly what my body was going through. Recovery from attempting the 50 mile distance while sick is not enjoyable. It has been a week and a half and I am still not completely out of the woods, though I am finally able to run again after a full week of being ravaged by a depleted immune system fighting a resilient organism.
I had been looking forward to Sun Mountain for quite a long time. It is one of those races which makes the list of everyone’s races for the year. So much was Sun Mountain discussed earlier this year that I, along with others, was afraid of an instant sell out. I sat impatiently by my computer at work refusing to let anyone bother me until 9:00am struck and I had hit the payment button on UltraSignup. More than the experience of running in eastern Washington, I was ready for my true test of fitness before I head down to tackle Western States. The week prior I had to take a day off work in an attempt to fight off a bug that had started going around. I thought I was in the clear Saturday morning, but I began to degrade on the way out to the incredibly charming small town of Winthrop. I later found out that a sickness went on a rampage with my workmates over the weekend as well.
“How are you feeling?” is a totally normal question to hear by fellow runners and aid station volunteers. “Um…are you ok?” is not. I heard the latter more than I wanted. Although I appreciated the concern by my friends, it was a constant reminder of how bad I was feeling and how much I would have to dig to just finish. I did not want to just finish, I wanted to run this course. Its terrain is the most like Western States’ that I will find beforehand and I have been training hard. I was ready to put out a solid effort, but the stabbing chest pains every time I coughed and limited breathing capabilities was holding me back.
At first, I thought I could outrun the sickness. I darted off with the ‘fasties’ able to hold on for a little while until I realized it was going to be a looooooong day. Thankfully, Sun Mountain is an incredibly gorgeous course. Here is a video of the race.
I somehow managed to keep moving forward and finished in 10:11; quite slower than I was projecting for myself. It was a tough pill to swallow and not just because my throat felt swollen and I was coughing almost incessantly. I have received multiple emails and messages from people ensuring me my training has me set and ready for Western States regardless of the slog at Sun Mountain. I am extremely grateful for these people in my life.
I got the tough mental training in for Western. Now I must trust in my training as I prepare to head down in a month. (A MONTH!!)