The game of racing

UTA 100 kmI am currently sitting on a plane to Chamonix, France and thinking about what is ahead with the Mont Blanc 80 km race being held on June 23rd. It makes me nervous. Not because of the distance, the time that past results predict or the course. Because I don’t know if I am ready to go again.

After Ultra Trail Australia 100 km I rested. For the first time in I believe 3 years I took 2 weeks of hardly a step where two feet were off the ground; I swam and I cycled but more so just to get to the supermarket or to meet up with friends. I gave my body rest after what was a big race for me and well… 100km is a long way, this should have felt right. But for some days after the race it felt so wrong.

I was in good shape, I had just had the race of my life and here I was doubting whether I deserved 2 weeks of resting, eating and generally being a normal teenager—how outrageous.

Reunion Island ChampionshipsMy mind continued to look forward and plan the races and travel that awaited me. First, the French university championship race on Reunion Island. Here, I had to let go of expectation and use the race as a welcome back to running, waking the legs and lungs back up and I was happy to do this. I embraced this change of pace and self-expectations and chose to ignore any external pressures I knew were out there. I loved this week on Reunion and I finished the race having given my best with what my body was able to (6th) but still felt tired and not in shape at all. My first thought was “how could I lose everything I worked so hard to build up for so long, so quickly. I don’t deserve anymore rest. I need to train”. This is crazy talk. I know it, but I am also honest about my feelings and I know that I am not alone for these emotions.

I have run 5 other 100 km events prior to this race and I have always bounced back so quickly and always kicking to get a bib back on to go again, this time it was different (maybe now I am 21 it’s not the same ha-ha). I understand that the competition is stronger, the training has been tougher, I choose this to be my life and I gave it the respect that this decision deserves. I am proud of what I can do, how I do it but I don’t feel pleased with this need to consistently keep pushing. Starting at 15 years old running, I always believed the sky is the limit and since then I have floated my way up always improving and getting faster and stronger but I think now it’s time to stop pushing up and instead look back down to earth and where I began, soar at this altitude and enjoy the view.

Mont Blanc 80 km was a big goal for me. For 2 years I have run the Mont Blanc marathon and now I am finally old enough to compete in the 80 km. It’s disappointing to be sitting on the plane not ready to go. Of course, I will enjoy it, I will run as hard as my body will allow and of course I will smile because I am so lucky to be in this position. However, I think that this is where the potential to lose the love of running, to only have a short term running life and the risk of injury can become dangerous. This is why I am writing this down, accepting the truth, recognizing these feelings and just enjoying the ride believing that my body will tell me when it is time to go again.

I can’t wait to return to Chamonix and to feel this mountain energy and to share it with you all!

Time to play!

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