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Good Race. Bad Race.


Good Race

Two weekends ago I flew out to Atlanta, GA to participate in the fourth race of the six-part series with The North Face Endurance Challenge.  I arrived in ATL, I ran well, placed in the female division, and wondered to myself during the flight home what on earth I would write about.  Running 50-miles well and then writing about it seemed redundant.  I was asked after the race, “Does placing 2nd feel different then 3rd?” and surprisingly enough the answer was No.  After some thought I realized that as long as I ran the smartest and hardest race that I possibly could then placement wouldn’t affect my post-race feelings.

One highlight from the event was a request from TNF to speak on the pre-race panel the night before the event.  This panel is compromised of some of the best running athletes from around the world.  Though I am the best athlete currently sitting in my apartment right now I will be the first to humbly admit that I am a talented amateur at best.  In that light I was both honored and proud to be asked on the panel as a representative of MS Run the US to talk about the 2013 Relay run we’re planning.  Sitting next to Nikki Kimball, Dean Karnazes, and Hal Koerner while discussing the inner workings of my mom’s bright spirit and my life’s work was pretty amazing.

As it so happens I did run a strong 50-mile race resulting in a 2nd place finish behind Nikki Kimball.  Apparently an injured Nikki can still beat a healthy Ashley by 17 minutes.  The technical trail, scenery, and Pine Mountain landscape was enough for me to dub this race as my favorite so far throughout the series.  Though the course is a tad on the slow side, the single-track running and surrounding forest is a trail-runners dream.

I can’t help but feel I got a little ahead of myself.  It’s been practically all season since I’ve had a bad ultra race and it was just about to pat myself on the back for a job well done when I got taken down a few notches…


Bad Race

I couldn’t wait for the Fall 50.  I’ve been counting down the days to this event since I registered in the Spring and after my 2nd place finish just a week prior I had fantasies of running a personal record (PR) time while finishing near the front of the race.  A home-state event, free pizza and beer at the finish, surrounded by friends…what could go wrong?!?

Well as it turns out…just about everything.

Being that I thought I was invincible I decided to help a friend run through the wee hours of the evening the night before.  I toed the line on just a few hours of sleep and poor nutrition.  Also, because I was super human I felt the need to sprint the first 15 miles.  WHY?!?! THAT never works for me. *sigh*

It didn’t take but 20 miles for my PR hopes and dreams to slowly slip out of my grasp, by the marathon mark I was praying for pain-free running, and just after 30 miles I bargained, “If you quit, I’ll quit” to my poor running buddy.  The internal storm was worse then I looked on the outside as I punished myself over and over for all of my short-comings.  By mile 35 I was barely worthy of calling myself a runner.

It seems that running-lows have their highs and I pulled myself out just in time to see my buddy crash.  My random pace and varied attitude throughout the middle all but drained “T” of his abilities to run his own race.  He was on little sleep as well and the final 15-miles were an uphill battle to stay upright.  We slogged across the finish line just over 9 hours and 30 minutes from our start, a full 90 minutes shy of our PR goal.

So alas, Good Race. Bad Race.  Sometimes you win them.  Some times you lose them.  And sometimes you vow to never make the same mistakes ever ever again, only to find that you’re only human so sometimes it happens.  Life is funny that way, huh? ; )



  • by ashleyk
  • posted at 2:10 PM
  • October 24, 2012