Tuesday, April 7, 2015

I'm Headed to the 24 Hour World Championships in Italy

Oh dear, I don't know how this is going to go. I haven't run since Monday, March 30th. I had a good run, but my legs have noticeably hurt since then, so it's been on the bicycle for me, or even taking the day totally off. I've cried in four of the last five days because of this.

I feel like am imposter. Having only raced one ultra, but having done a few fun runs, I have a feeling for what my body is capable of, and it is quite a bit. My body can do much better than 154.5 miles in one day, a lot better. Yes in the past six weeks I have not run more than three days in one week and not more than 17 miles in one week. Sure, I've been on the bicycle, but cycling is nowhere near the 100+ miles per week of running I was averaging going into the North Coast 24. I see on Facebook my team USA teammates having send off parties and taking all sort of very excited pictures, and I can't help but think, 'my legs hurt, right now, sitting here. How am I going to run for 24 hours?'

Trying to use an analogy to relate to other people is difficult for me in this case, and I like using analogies. Perhaps this works, imagine you are taking a test, in a subject you like, and the last time you took a test you scored 96%, really great. However, you just had the flu and missed the last week of class, but having trouble recovering from it the doctors find out you have appendicitis, and you're out for another week and a half. You return to take the next test on your first day back, and the expectation is that this is test day, and you have to do it today. Have fun.

Thank you everyone for supporting me, for praying for me, for being excited for me. Yes I am excited to be on a team USA, it has been a goal of mine for a long time, it is just not at all the way I had hoped to go into global competition. It pains me to talk about it. As awkward as Mt. Everest was for me after the accident when I returned empty handed, feeling loss and disbelief at the magnitude of the tragedy, and had some depression from it, this is like that in reverse.

What am I doing? If this was any other race, I wouldn't run. Yet I've never had this chance before and while I hope to have it again in the future, I don't know that I will. I mean the fibula is basically non-weight bearing, so I expect that I won't do any permanent damage. Regardless of the permanent damage, I fear it is going to really hurt. I mean last time with no injuries and strong training, I couldn't walk for three hours after the race. On the pain scale I feel that I am only modestly more pain tolerant than average, and this could really hurt.

I know I am crazy. I don't know of any way to really relate to most people that I can run a 9:17 mile, for 24 strait hours.

What will happen in Turin on Saturday? I have no idea. I still harbor the fantasy that I could win this thing, but images of being reduced to a walk after a few miles crowd into my thoughts as well. This is an opportunity for me to be grateful for all that I have, both physical and mental gifts as well as material and financial. I am about to do something that some of my friends probably considered impossible, until they met me. This is also a lesson in patience. I think, had I not had any races to prepare for, my leg would be totally fine by now and I could begin a build up for summer and fall races.

Patience and gratitude, two things I could exercise more in my life, and this is the perfect time for me to learn this lesson. Perhaps perseverance will be learned in the course of this event too. I don't know.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Isaiah - I'm sorry to hear about your leg pain. Through my own experiences with injuries I have some small taste of what you are going through and the worries, doubts and nervousness can be tormenting at times. What matters is how you react and adapt to the thoughts which your mind presents you at these moments.

    You are right, this experience may be a painful one. But you are going to do it and good or bad, you will learn multitudes from this experience. And lucky for you I happen to know that you love things that test you to the fullest of your capabilities!

    This may be your first Team USA race but this isn't your first rodeo. You've done a 24hr race before. You've run many other times at or above the marathon distance. You know how your body performs and reacts under stress and fatigue. This body of experience you have amassed is what makes you a great 24hr runner, not any one specific race.

    The people you are racing against are humans just like you. Doubtless more than a few harbor their own doubts and worries, they may just not be sharing it via blog as you are :). Just know that when the gun goes off, you and everyone you are with that day are equals, all experiencing the race together.

    I will be following you on Saturday and cheering you on from Ohio. Have a blast in Turin and make sure to take in the experience fully.

    Good luck and best wishes on a wonderful race!



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