07 March 2020


Jumped into this race 3 days prior to race day, because my wife had signed up and because I needed the miles for the final week of my first training block of the year. Sounded like a win-win. Rather than signing up for the 12 hour timed event I opted for the 50 Miler as I had no need or desire to run more than that. After all, I had just run a 100K the previous weekend. It also gave me a chance to test out the camper van again to use as our base camp right next to the looped course. 
I started conservatively as is been my plan for just about every race prior to July. The first few miles ticked by very quickly as I spent time chatting with fellow runner friends. You see, this race is local, a mere 30 minutes from our home, and as such you generally see even more familiar faces than during the average southeastern trail or ultra race. However, as soon as the field stretched and runners settled into their own paces, I started to lose interest in being out there. I quickly decided to settle for 40 miles for the day and to do so at different paces, even including some walking miles as I expected to be doing lots of that later this summer when attempting the various 200 and 300 mile races I had on my calendar.

Truth be told, I was just making excuses as my motivation (i.e. mental game) was just not there. Mental fortitude is the most important characteristic of every ultra runner, but I am also in the camp of athletes that believe that mental fortitude is not available as an unlimited supply. One has to pick and choose when to spent one's motivation balance as not to deplete the account prior to the actual goal race(s). Sometimes, you just gotta suck it up even in a training race to prove to yourself that you can indeed do it, but other times you may just need to recognize that it isn't worth it. I know that sounds like a cop out, but I find it to be true.

This can also come into play when you're deep into an ultra and it's time to decide to keep pushing hard and maybe even pick up the pace or whether just to shuffle or walk it in for a finish. These are the mental battles I often deal with. Generally, I know how it plays out even before an event. I just know. Usually, I am already questioning the "importance" of an event in the days leading up to it. I know, this is gonna be one of those. Other times, I never once question how race day will unfold and no matter how much adversity i deal with on the day, I never once falter or question my resolve. I learned this this past summer and I've accepted it. I consider it a good thing, because if I ever happen to question my resolve prior to a goal event, I know I have to eliminate all doubt prior to ever toeing the starting line.

As is the case every year, Jon Elmore and crew put on a fantastic event. Every year, this race runs like a well oiled machine and the swag is always top notch. Unbeknownst to me, this was my 9th Delano Park event, which means Delano will become only my second race with 10 finishes next year. 

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