Cori’s first 50K mantra: “We’re fine…just breathe and focus, focus, focus.”

Athletes Achieving Goals

One of my athletes, Cori, completed her first 50K this past weekend with her Dad by her side. They both were very successful and able to even place in their age groups. Below you will see her race recap.  I hope you enjoy!

 

Cori’s Race Recap

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As I ate dinner in the hotel room with my Dad the night before, we smiled in anticipation of the next “adventure” on which we were about to embark. “Adventures with Dad” were a theme of my childhood and typically had a few common elements: (1) they were usually in the woods, (2) unforseen challenges arose, and (3) the punch line was “…don’t worry, we survived.”

“No plan survives contact with the enemy”, right? 7 water crossings in the first mile & a half, 2,760ft of cumulative elevation gain, and miles of shale rocks begging to trip you up in a momentary lapse of focus. Not exactly a “beginner’s” course for my first 50K.

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My “game plan” was more of an approach than a specific execution strategy – stay consistent and calm with my mental thoughts, physical effort, and fueling. The extent of the “strategic planning” was the making up of our own “drop bags” (it was a self-supported race) – however, no guarantees that a critter wouldn’t run off with it overnight…

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I definitely did not anticipate the intense focus that the technical terrain demanded; a brief glimpse away at the wrong time would have ended my day. I stayed focused on the present moment and accepted the course as it came. From the beginning, my internal dialogue set the tone that “there’s no sense in getting frustrated” with whatever arose on course. Fighting the terrain, even with internal energy, would have been futile. Even when I felt a slight gut-twinge at mile 25 (a situation that would have previously sent me panicking that my day was about to unravel), my mantra became “we’re fine…just breathe and focus, focus, focus.”

I loved every bit of all the miles. I enjoyed the experience to the fullest by not getting wrapped up in whatever terrain or sensations arose. Ironically, it was probably the months of handling mishaps and hardships in training that enabled me to stay calm on race day knowing I could handle any challenge presented.

I could not have ended the first blog with a more appropriate Lao Tzu quote – When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. I had let go of the expectations for the day and let it unfold as it was rather than what “should” be. Crossing the finish line, one of the organizers stopped me to grab my ankle timing chip. Already thrilled from my accomplishment (and mentally fried from the 5+ hours of intense focus), it took me a second to comprehend when she said “…we’re just waiting for the results to update, but we’re pretty sure you’re 2nd female.”

And yes – trail running trophies are usually rocks or stumps – gotta love it!!

Now on to the important part: appreciating a job well-done. All too often, as athletes, we quickly jump to “what’s next?” Why spend so much time dreaming of the ultimate accomplishment only to not savor it when we get there? So, here’s to incorporating the “celebration phase” in training!

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