Small Events, Big Results, Bigger Lessons
This was a great weekend for personal challenges for both Carrie and I. We’ve both been doing better with keeping a consistent training schedule and this weekend we finally got to test out our fitness levels.
It started on Saturday with a very early morning drive to San Marcos for the Inaugural San Elijo Hills Trail Marathon. This isn’t something you’ll find on a race calendar, it was the heinous concoction of Dax Ross (make sure to check out his recap and pics) and was promised to be the “slowest marathon of your life.” The total distance was just under a marathon but the 5,100 feet of climbing more than made up for it. The course was awesome with a great mix of every type of terrain: fire road, beautiful single track, paved road, and at no point were we ever running on flat ground.
Going in to the weekend I was a little concerned simply because I hadn’t run long since the JTree Traverse at the beginning of May. However, like I said I’ve been training well and I was feeling really fit so figured I would give it a go. I wasn’t familiar with the majority of the group I would be joining but I knew through reputation most of them were very strong runners so I decided to try to hang back throughout the day and run a comfortable pace. Thank God I did because I was surrounded by absolute beasts! There were things being talked about such as Ultraman (that’s a double Ironman), a 9 hr 50 miler in a first attempt, Leadville 100 preparations, Triple Crown attempts (summit Gorgonio, Bernardino, and Jacinto in one day), and these were just a few of the 18 different people that were out there. I was in awe of this group and just hoped I could hang.
As for the run itself, it was an absolute blast! The group while incredibly strong didn’t have an ounce of arrogance to it (another one of the great attributes of the majority of trail runners). The combination of the banter and the terrain made what could have been a brutally long day in to a marathon that flew by (if a marathon can fly by in 5+ hours). The weather was with us and it stayed cloudy until about mile 18 when the sun came out just in time for our biggest climb of the day. It made the climb a little harder but nothing too terrible. In fact, I felt pretty good all day until a couple stupid mistakes caught up to me. For the first time in a very long while, I forgot to take salt pills with me and sure enough, my calf started seizing at mile 20. Dax saved me with a couple tablets and I was able to keep it at bay through the end. The only other problem I had was another dumb mistake. I had plenty of calories with me and the extravagant aid stations put together by some of the amazing wives, girlfriends, kids, and families of the runners had us more well stocked than I could have imagined. Unfortunately, I just didn’t take in enough and when we hit the last couple hundred yards of steep, scramble climbing to the finish I started hitting the wall pretty hard. I hadn’t hit the wall like that in a very long time and it sucked! I chalk both of these up to simply not doing any long runs the past two months and getting out of practice with my nutrition.
What I lacked in nutrition, my training made up for. I took a huge lesson out of Saturday; consistency and trust in your training can greatly amplify what you are able to accomplish. I know this may sound pretty basic but it’s something I, and a lot of people, struggle with. If you have a training plan, stick to it and trust in it, especially when you have seen success before. Carrie and her coaching, have gotten me through some incredibly tough races and runs and each time I have followed her guidance I have been successful! She has gotten me to a top-10 o’all/2nd place AG finish in one of the hardest IM distance races in North America, 12th o’all in my first 50K, completed a 3 mile OW swim that had only 163 of 500 starters finish the race, a strong run at the JTree Traverse and now a tough marathon on no long runs. These stats would never be possible without expert guidance and trusting in what I am being given to do. Knowing I can fully rely on my coach eliminates a huge deal of worry and allows me to focus on getting the job done.
Sunday it was time to recover from Saturday’s effort and pay it back. I was on hand for support while Carrie was reentering the racing world with the Self Transcendence Swim-Run. This 1 mile swim, 10K run begins at the La Jolla cove. Swimmers take off and head for the LJ Shores where they run 10-1mile loops on the beach. I love the concept of the race and would have liked to do it but there was no way my legs would allow it. Instead, I got to watch Carrie go from a confident coach, to a nervous pre-race athlete, to the fierce competitor I know she is. With only a hand full of solid training weeks under her belt, Carrie crushed it to take 5 o’all female and 1st in her age group! I can’t even begin to say how proud of her I am. I know how hard it has been for her not being able to race because of limited time over the past year so seeing her go out there and reassert herself in the competitive world was better than anything I could have gotten from a race of my own.
This was a great weekend for the Jesse crew and it will be one of many!