Going into Promise Land, I felt prepared for the distance but maybe not so much the elevation gain that was to come along with it. I'm not a strong mountain runner (yet), so in the weeks preceding the race, I decided to focus on my strengths: nutrition, downhill running and being mentally prepared for a long tough day. What I learned is that even the best nutritional plan will quickly go out the window in the face of GI distress … and the mental battle that ensued was far more challenging than completing the race without any extra self-induced challenges. I can’t pinpoint what caused me to feel so incredibly nauseated and sick throughout the race, but I have a suspicion it was combination of factors ... Either way, it’s humbling and a tad bit embarrassing as a dietitian to admit that nutrition was the cause of my downfall. Running for 6+ hours is still a relatively new concept for me and I know challenges like these come with the territory of stepping outside my comfort zone. Mistakes will happen and there are always lessons to be learned. So I’ll start my report with this: Races like this one are why I maintain the motto “respect the distance.” It doesn’t matter how many long races or training runs I’ve completed, I will always respect the fact that anything can happen out there…
|VT had 14 Hokies racing...simply incredible!|
Friday I was feeling pretty good: My nervousness was behind me and I was in high spirits, excited to run and finally experience Promise Land for myself. After many traffic delays, we arrived at the race around 7pm, set up camp, enjoyed the pre-race festivities (aka listened to Horton talk forever) and went to bed early. I slept well and Horton did a good job waking up the entire camp with his bullhorn around 4:30am. Pre-race was uneventful, though I struggled to eat my breakfast and get other things moving… I had a feeling that would come back to haunt me but tried to not worry about it. At 5:30am sharp we were off.
|Perhaps a little too happy for 5 am? Nah.|