Saturday morning, I ran the North Country 50 Mile Trail Run.
Throughout the event I felt like I was moving well. I ran up hills I have walked up in years past. In fact, I ran nearly the entire time. Looking over the data from my watch only confirmed how I felt; I ran (vs walked) over 90% of the time.
I felt like maybe this year I could finish in under eight hours – I’ve done it only once before years ago. Yet, as it got to be later in the run, I realized that it wouldn’t even be close. Normally I can finish this race in the low eight hour range without issue, however despite how well I felt like I was moving, it became obvious that this year would be over nine. I’m 43 years old now, and the last few of those years have taken away some of the speed I used to have not all that long ago. I began to feel frustrated about that.
The North Country course consists of two loops of a 25 mile course. An error in course marking on the first loop meant a 3.5 mile section between aid stations unexpectedly became nearly 8 – and eliminated one aid station from the course altogether. As I wasn’t carrying anything with me, that meant over an hour and a half without access to fluids or calories. I would spend the rest of the day climbing out of the hole that put me in.
A younger me might have been angry or upset. But while the passing years may have taken speed and fitness they’ve also given me patience and experience. I can’t control this situation, but I can absolutely control how I react to it. This wasn’t a lost chance for a ‘perfect day’, it was a gifted opportunity to practice pacing and nutrition in a very difficult situation. Excellent training for another goal race coming up very soon…..
For the remainder of the day I made careful, deliberate decisions about pacing, as well as what (and how much) I consumed at every aid station. Sometimes I felt better than others, but as I mentioned before, I kept running. And when it was all said and done, I’m really happy about what I did out there.
Saturday, I ran the North Country 50 Mile Trail Run. And I wouldn’t have changed a thing about it.
North Country 50 Mile
1st Place Age Group
9th Place Overall