As a long distance trail runner speed is important especially in races. In the races I participate in, you need to make ‘cut offs’ which is reaching a certain place by a certain time. For slow runners like myself this is challenging and nerve wracking. Usually you are squeaking by; just barely making that cut off.
Recently a woman in the UK was pulled off by race officials for being too slow. She’s only run a mile and half and was pulled. And she wasn’t all that slow. Netty, was running a twelve minute mile which is about my pace for road. That’s a slow runners biggest nightmare: being pulled from a race for being too slow.
Today I went to a timed race. Basically the course is open for 12 hours and you see how many loops you can do. It was a hard course. One loop was over 8 miles with over 2kft of elevation gain. And I felt every inch. My initial plan was to take the first loop nice and slow and just enjoy the scenery. I had never run on these trails. I wanted to enjoy it.
The loops were made up of two sections or two mini loops. First one was shorter, easier but there was a lot more hikers around. The second one was tough. I felt good on the first one. But the second one really kicked my a$$. I felt tired. My heart beat way too fast. I was sweating really bad and was breathless. I felt beaten. I kept asking myself why I did this. What purpose did racing serve? And why was I having such a crappy time this year running trails.
I made the decision to drop all my races. When it started raining, I began to cry. Not because it was raining but because this shouldn’t be this hard. Why was I so slow after all these years of running? Why couldn’t I be better at this?
At the shelter where they were recording lap times and some people were resting, I texted Laura to tell her I was done with racing. No more. Poor lady. She’s gotten these texts several times this year. She doesn’t deserve my crazy.
After I got home, I read several other people’s comments on Facebook about how hard the loops were. It made me feel better. I would give almost anything to be faster though.