A blog about Trace and her races.

My ‘A’ Race of 2014

This view never gets old. I love running in SF. Thanks, Nate Dunn for the photo.

This view never gets old. I love running in SF. Thanks, Nate Dunn for the photo.

Since the first day of last year, I knew my ‘A’ race would be the North Face 50 (SF) in December. There wasn’t a day that went by where I didn’t imagine myself somewhere in the Headlands, imagining how good it was going to hurt. Every tough workout, every time my legs screamed and my lungs burned, every time I climbed the 2-mile Wellbarn fire road climb at the end of a killer trail run, I would pretend it was THAT race. I sacrificed a lot of local racing throughout the year to avoid burnout for this end of the year race.  I had high hopes. I was confident. And I believed I had it in me to battle the whole way. I didn’t.

My race was cut short at mile 28 when I decided to drop. My body was fighting me for last 8 miles. My quads, hammies and back were cramping. I knew I was doing the right thing when I called it. It hurt, but I needed to be smart. Today, as I sat in a cafe talking to a friend, she asked me what my true running goals were. Like did I have something major I wanted to accomplish? The answer for me was simple, and it really confirmed that I did do the right thing. My answer: I just want to be able to run. There is no doubt that I am a competitor and that I will continue to compete, but that is just a bonus to huge blessing already bestowed upon me.

That day in the headlands was a big reflection of my personal life and struggles. I needed to let go. I needed to be realistic and stop trying to fix things or hang on to things that were broken. Things that I thought were so important to me. Things that I thought I needed. Things that couldn’t heal themselves with more time, more talks or miles. This race outcome was the closure that I needed to start a fresh new chapter of my life. It felt really good. I feel really good. I feel hopeful, happy and refreshed for a beautiful new year filled with new opportunities and experiences.

Here was my immediate Facebook post after my race:

I dropped at 28. At mile 19 I stopped to stretch quad and my hamstring cramped too. Then it was my back. I was strong until that point and took a break at 28 then stated again, but I had to stop. Then I tried again and stopped. I walked back to the aid, visibly upset, but it was the best decision for me. Not happy, but there was no way I could run downhill for five miles and that is when I decided to call it. Omg I hope you never experience hamstring cramps – nearly made me scream like a girl. I literally saw all of your faces during that moment of me needing to drop – I had to do it, and hated having to relay this message about the drop. This is what makes ultras unique – anything can happen even when you feel you you are complete ready. Thanks for all the well wishes and support – it means a lot to me.

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3 responses

  1. Nothing wrong with shutting it down and saving the legs for another performance. You only have to answer to you. Looking forward to seeing you kick some booty in 2015. Stay well Trace!

    January 5, 2015 at 7:54 am

  2. You are so awesome. I am glad you stopped and took care of your awesome self, often times we push beyond – it’s what endurance is all about. But; it is a courageous and intelligent decision to recognize where there is something more than usual discomfort. I fuel my running through people like you, and you always inspire and give so much. Thank you.

    January 5, 2015 at 12:39 pm

  3. Rudy Rodriguez

    I was there and saw your disappointment. But, you finally accepted that you had made the right decision to drop, and even celebrated with a few of your friends and you were in very good spirits. I also think you made the right decision. There will be other races and to push it would have been harmful to you and you could have done some serious damage. I think it is also great that you shared this experience, so others (like myself) can see if a top runner like you can drop, then we should go to school on your experience and do likewise. Again, thanks for sharing this experience!

    January 8, 2015 at 12:21 am

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