Race Day Expectations

In my last column, I wrote about my anxiety as I trained though injuries for my first 100-mile race at Bryce Canyon, Utah. Despite my injuries, I vowed to show up to the start line and do my best. I wish I could say that I finished the race, but unfortunately I dropped out at mile 75. I am disappointed to say the least, and I feel like I gave it my best effort; but like anybody who has spent months training for a huge athletic accomplishment only to drop on race day, I have a lot of self-doubt. I am moving forward and trying not to second-guess my decision. I had some unexpected issues on race day, but I learned a lot about myself for my next big adventure.

Despite having to drop out, I had a lot of fun at this well-organized race, and I’m proud of all of the local people who also showed up at the start line to chase after their goals; plenty of them finished their race. Travelling to Bryce Canyon, camping with runners and their families, and receiving the support of such a large group at a race this far from home were the best parts of the adventure. An incredible bond is formed when you suffer through an event with 20 other like-minded athletes (or deranged maniacs).

Bryce Canyon is an amazing course. It was well-marked, the volunteers were wonderful, the weather was beautiful, and the aid stations were well-stocked. I cannot fathom the planning and minute details involved with putting on a long-distance event this big. I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed the out-and-back course. I loved having the opportunity to see all of the runners on their way back and being able to check in with our group out on the trail. It was a huge emotional lift, almost as much as seeing my crew at the aid stations.

The 100-mile distance makes ultra-runners stand out from the other nut jobs who like to run trails. Yes, the 100 miler is still on my radar. I don’t know exactly when I will train for my next one or where it will be, but I am compelled to prove to myself that I can overcome this challenge. I already miss the long training hours; I am almost ready to sign up for another race. But not quite. // (Dave Dutro)

Dave Dutro is an avid trail runner, mountain biker, hiker, and co-founder of the Trail Maniacs. Read about Trail Maniacs events and activities at www.trailmaniacs.com.

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