20121014

WV Trilogy - Part 1

Driving to Spruce Knob
My experience at WV Trilogy is unimaginable. It wasn't just the run or the scenery, though both are spectacular - but more so my journey before and during the run, the emotions, the learning, and the tremendous love and support I get from friends and family. The last three days are not only a running adventure, but an opportunity of personal growth and defining moments which will outlast adrenaline or results.

Each of the journal entry is written after the run on each day. I want to share it chronologically and hopefully could take you through my experience as I have experience it.

(Thurs) Oct 11 at 8:19 pm - 
In my dorm room, in bed. I'm still nervous about my shin splints and calf pain. Both legs were hurting this afternoon. There's nothing much I could at this point but just take everything as it is - pain, race, outcome... My job tomorrow is to simply show up and do what I can. I'm praying to open my heart and mind to whatever God has for me and remember that I'm receiving. All that waiting and anticipation, it's finally here now. I have too much time to think about this one, which makes me nervous.

(Fri) Oct 12 - 
The first mistake was made before the race. I overtrained and went into the race with injuries. I kept thinking (hoping) that I was only "borderline" injured and a couple days off will take care of them. I was wrong. I didn't run at all during the week leading up to Friday, but alas, I wasn't running well right from the start of race. Shins and calf were both hurting and by mile five, I wanted to quit. I probably would have if this was only a race to me. I felt like I owe it to my friends and family who are supporting me to give my all no matter what the circumstances are.
Pain accompanied each step I took and I wasn't able to run downhill at all. Mentally, I tried to right off all the negativity but in reality, it was quite difficult when I was disappointed and discouraged. Quite a few people flew by me and two of them stopped to see how I was. I held back my emotions and explained that I was in pain. At the second aid station where the drop bags were, I put on compression socks though I didn't like running in them. I was willing to try anything at that point. Thankfully, they did help.
This is truly a mountain run, rugged and technical. These trails didn't seem like they had a lot of normal traffic, unlike Crowders. And though the RD said they were not "overly technical," a couple runners from NC and I all agreed that they matched or surpassed the technicality at Uwharrie. Another thing which I've learned is that there are not a lot of switchbacks here. When a trail goes up the mountain, it goes up. Straight up. The ironic thing is I didn't mind them at all. They were tough, but climbing up put less stress on my legs than down. Going up was hard, but going down was demoralizing. On a couple of climbing sections, I was able to catch up with a few, only to have them overtaken me again going down later. To give you an idea how much I was struggling. For the first 18 miles, I was covering about 3.5 miles/hour.

At mile 13.5, I finally broke down. I had never cried on a run/race before, but I felt helpless and overwhelmed with emotions. I did that two more times in the next eight miles or so. At around mile 20, my legs somehow turned around. It was nothing short of a miracle. Thinking back, the Hammer gel I took a short while before probably contributed to the miracle. I am starting to learn how important nutrition is during a long haul as this. For the next 10 miles, I felt more like myself again. My body was tired but my spirit was in much better place. I was able to run more and on less painful legs. It was encouraging to know that I could possibly bounce back from being so miserable for most of the race. I finished in 8:11, worst 50k to date. At the same time, I worked harder on this than any other I've done.
The bottom line is, I was disappointed in my performance and the hole I dug myself, but I walked away with some important lessons which I believe would help me in a long run. I've learned to keep trusting even when things are hard. I've learned that it's my choice to do my best in accordance to what I can (and what is given). God has required us to be faithful, to be the best we can according to what He has given us. I might not be the fastest or the most talented, but He has given me gifts and I'm responsible for using them. As a result, I've learned to put a higher value on how He sees me rather than to let results alone to dictate how/who I am. My immediate goal for tomorrow is to crawl to the start. Realistically, I am doubtful that I would make the cut-offs. And honestly, being out there again for 14 hours is a frightening thought. At the same time, after today, I am more at peace in throwing myself into the unknown.

2 comments:

  1. Wow! This brought tears to my eyes! So inspirational! Thank u for sharing this! I feel blessed to have shared a weekend with someone as amazing and strong as you! Looking fwd to the rest of the report!!

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  2. My wife and I had a similar experience. It was the toughest 50k we have done so far. At the waterfall about mile 20 my wife tore a tendon in her calf. We thought we were going to have our first dnf but we prayed and kept repeating Phillipians 4:13. We had to walk the last 10 or eleven miles but we made it in 8:51. Glory be to God!

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

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