This weekend, I had the pleasure of coming in last place at the Sheep Mountain 50 mile! (And no, I'm not being sarcastic.)
I have run very minimal this year and been dedicating time to so many other fun things in life. Sherpa John, the race director of the Sheep Mountain 50 mile, invited me to run and I just couldn't say no. Against better judgement, I set off on this extremely difficult 50 mile course from Fairplay, Colorado.
|Sheep Mountain 50 mile race start, 6am. Fairplay, CO|
|Above treeline toward Brown's Pass. An extremely difficult terrain at high elevation.|
The elevation was about 10,000ft for a majority of the day. The course was extremely rocky and seemed to go uphill in every direction. Knowing I was completely untrained for this, I started the run at a very comfortable pace and stayed focused on hydrating and eating well. I was definitely feeling pretty waisted by mile 20. I tapped into areas of my brain that remind me "not to think" too much and I continued from mile 20 toward the next aid station.
I then found camaraderie with a few other runners...namely Sean Cook and Bernie Hohman. Both Sean and Bernie were running their first 50 mile race. Bernie was struggling and I suddenly found myself giving him some pointers, suggesting he push through the pain a bit and wait for his mental game to come back. In doing this, I was locking myself into doing the same thing. I had some thought about dropping due to a complete lack of training...but, after sharing all the positive energy I could with Bernie, I felt obligated to listen to my own advice and push on toward the finish.
|(left to right) Myself, Bernie, and Sean...approximately mile 40.|
|Jalen giving me his support in the last 7 miles.|
I enjoyed every step with Bernie and Sean. I felt purpose in helping them find the finish. Without them, I wouldn't have continued. They gave me purpose...a reason to finish.
In the final mile, I asked Sean and Bernie if I could be the last finisher. They asked why and I shared that many people thought of me only as a front-runner. I explained that my adventures in ultrarunning are much more meaningful to me than just racing and competing against others. It was special to me that we had worked together to find the finish. For these reasons, the finish line touched my heart again...and had new meaning.
|In the last 100yds before the finish, with Sean (left) and Bernie (right).|
Run long and prosper,