The Big Bonk
This being my second ultramarathon, I had three simple goals for the race:
1. Run with joy.
2. Take it easy the first lap to avoid bonking in the second.
3. Have fun.
Generally, I LOVE running. The miles. The forest. The people. Running puts a smile on my face and endorphins in my brain.
That is, until Holiday Lake – the race that snuck up on me like a weasel and, in the moment, made me want to quit running for life.
The first lap was no problem. I made good time, and maintained a pace below my threshold (or so I thought). The running was smooth and light. I was never out of breath. I chatted with other runners. Smiled. Laughed. By all accounts, I was on track with my goals.
PROOF. A smile in the following photograph documents me allegedly having fun and achieving goals 1 & 3:
At the halfway point, I ditched my useless hydration pack, which had deprived me of water for miles. The tube froze during the pre-dawn start and despite shoving it down my sports bra for a good hour, the ice never thawed. So I picked up my hand-held water bottle, stuffed some Pringles in my mouth and headed down the trail.
When I ditched my hydration pack, I also ditched the “crutches” I had packed to get me through the race. Gone was the Advil to relieve my aching feet. Gone were the Hammer Gels to boost my energy. Gone was my iPod to get me through the doldrums. It was just me and the trail, mano-a-mano.
I felt good for a few more miles. The weather was beautiful. The sun warmed my face and visions of springtime dance in my head.
Then, without warning, my mood took a nosedive. My legs seemed fine, but my pace was slowing with every step. Bliss was replaced with Misery as my spirit sunk low and lower. People passed me and I didn’t care. I tried to think positive thoughts, but nothing worked. I was bonking and the finish line was miles away.
When I crossed the finish line, I wasn’t happy, per say, just relieved.
The Bonk lasted for a good ten miles, and I was relieved to be done. In retrospect, The Bonk was the worst AND best part of the race. The worst thing about The Bonk was my inability to get out of the mental rut. The best part was my ability to dig deep and keep going. I also learned a Big Lesson about the need to eat more food during the race.
See you at Terrapin.
Tags: holiday lake