“More kilometers means more fun,” says Kilian Jornet after getting lost during his record-setting time of running up and down Mount Olympus earlier this year. He's such a tremendous runner with much grace, humility, and passion. I had my mind on what he said while running through the woods yesterday. Trail times defies the normal measure of time. It wasn't until almost two and a half hours into the race till I first looked at my watch. Minutes and hours did seem to stretch longer and longer as the race progressed, but I still savored every bit of it.
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2 ESV)
For Kilian, mountain has a soul and he draws its energy as he runs. Having grown up in the mountains, he has a much deeper understanding and appreciation of them than I do. But it's not hard to imagine the breathtaking views, the immensity of mountain range, and the limitless sky above, all reminding us mortals of how insignificant we (and our pain) are and what a privilege we have to be part of this. My favorite section of the FATS trails yesterday was running on a single-track though the sky-reaching pine trees. They were tall, but their canopies were not dense. The brightness of the sun shinning through enticed me to lift my eyes up from the ground and take a look around me. No mountain yesterday, but an enchanting forest nonetheless.
I finished in 5:53. This is technically my second ultra, but my first official 50k. Being very conservative in the beginning paid off at the end. I caught up with quite a few runners in my last loop. Despite that, I still think maybe I could have done this, or maybe I could have done that. It's always a learning experience. Maybe if I had gone out faster, I could have finish with a better time; or not. At the end of the day, I decided to run conservatively and enjoy every mile, rather than risking going out too fast and suffer half the race. I guess I'm just not competitive enough to do well.
Like all Terri's races, it's well organized and offers a top-notch experience. Course was well-marked at important turns. Volunteers were encouraging and helpful. Aid stations were fully stocked with a good variety of food and drink. I've paid for a lot of races but none of them compares to Terri's free and donation-based races.