goblin valley state park 50k ultra
The weather forecast had predicted rain, and they were not wrong, just one day off - it rained the whole day the day prior. Race morning came sunny, cool, and crisp, a perfect combination. Fueling plans did not work out - I could not swallow anything beyond the halfway point. The run on the whole was much easier than I thought, only three to four miles were truly difficult.
There were no mile markers, and a road portion before and after the turnaround point had been washed out by the rain, so the course had to be changed at the last minute. I am only approximating where I was when, but the first 25 miles or so went by in a kind of a rush.
I lost my way once - running happily into the wilderness, feeling free and unecumbered, I realized at some point I was utterly alone and no orange ribbons flagged the trail. I remembered the sheriff's search and rescue truck parked at the start line and envisioned how it would look for me at dusk. With some trepidation I turned around until I was back on track. The little adventure must have cost me 15 minutes or so, but I still seemed to make progress much faster than I expected.
On the way out there was this hill that appeared unseasonably high, and it went up and down, and up and down, I walked the uphill slopes, ran downhill, and dreaded having to do it again on the way back. But then coming back, I was bracing myself for the crest when I realized I had just put it behind me, and had no idea how that happened.
Then came the three or four miles that brought me down, I could barely move, I walked a lot, I felt small and whiny. Somehow I snapped out of it. I was already back to the start line where a loop of about 2 km had been added to make up for the distance lost at the turnaround point. It was not a real path, but a curvy imaginary line marked by pumpkins, and you wouldn't always know which way you had to run until you reached a pumpkin and looked around for the next orange spot that would indicate your direction. I was tired of being tired. I was running, eyes darting around, a single thought on my mind: just give me the next fucking pumpkin.
6 hours 22 min 12 sec. Immediately afterward I felt I could have done it better. I do not mean I wanted to run another 50K. But given the same race again, I would have run it differently, without letting those three or four miles get to me.