The Dark Side

I took a few days to reflect before writing on the Clarksburg 20 miler. As runners, we all experience the dark side at least once in our running journey. It will happen when you least expect it, hitting you full force until you can’t see straight.

I was really looking forward to this race. I had started to get bored with the same humdrum paved course areas of my neighborhood. So the change of scenery, not to mention a supported course surrounded by the running community, was certainly a win! I also got a few friends to drive out for the race as well. Bonus!

Overall, the race organization was really good. I mean, after 33 years, I would expect nothing less. The weather was pretty brisk as I kissed UMM goodbye and he walked his way to the front of the start line. Surrounded by friends, my spirits were high, and away we went. I ran the first 10 miles with Shannon. It was fun to chat all while running past orchards and farms. Around mile nine, my Garmin crapped out as it has been doing lately. It was at this point that Shannon and I were running naked as hers had also done the same. It was somewhere past the 10 mile mark that I started to feel sick. Not only was I experiencing stomach pains, but  nausea symptoms as well. I slowed to walk and watched Shannon run off into the sunset. Well, not really the sunset, but you get my intent. A couple of miles later I stopped in at a porta potty where I spent minutes waiting for something, anything to come out. What a waste of time. Back on the course I saw Shila in the distance and caught up with her for a mile. It was nice to have her company, but after a mile, I had to pull back again. I caught up with her once more, and then pulled back for the last time.

It was then as I watched Shila’s silhouette fade, that I myself was fading to the dark side. It was one huge mind fuck after another, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't shake it. And yes, I was still feeling ill on the course. Those moments or miles rather, were certainly not my proudest. Thoughts of DNF came to mind. I was so tempted, but I told myself that if I did DNF, I would not be able to hang out with friends after the race as punishment. This seemed to help my mind state a lot. There is nothing I like more than hanging out with awesome people, and it was clear, nothing was going to keep me from that.

The last three miles, I dug deep, kept my head down (which perhaps did nothing for my form) and ran as fast as I could muster. I just wanted it to be over and done. The faster I went, the faster my wish would come true.

As I crossed the finish line, I was nearly in tears as I signaled to UMM to not take any pictures of me. I felt defeated. I did however finish. The slowest run of my training cycle by far and the most disappointing.

Running is something that I am passionate about. It is something that I love doing! But even the things I love most of all, can sometimes be the most difficult to obtain. Yes, every once in awhile a visit from the dark side will indeed occur. I might not greet it with open arms, but I will certainly gain value and insight from the experience. Oh Clarksburg, I will never forget you for that very reason!

Pre race, all smiles!
One of these runners needs to eat...Can you guess who? ;P
Returning back to the light

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