What I Learned From The Mountain Half-Marathon

When a close friend who has run several ultras and is one of those athletic freaks suggested I accompany him for a mountain half-marathon at Copper Mountain a few months ago I bit fast. At the time I figured I'd end up being out of my league when I showed up...understatement. This was my first actual race...any type of race. But given I was thinking of it as an interim adventure to train for leading up to the main event in January 2015 (week-long ski touring trip in BC), my expectations were low and simply to "have fun" and continue to get fit. Granted there were some unintentional mistakes during my race; an extra 500 vertical feet and a total of about 16.5 miles, but I didn't realize what I was really involved with. It's been well over 24 hours since I finished and I still can't walk right. And I ran a half or quarter of what most of the other people who raced yesterday did. After I finished (just over 4hrs), I sat waiting for our friend to finish her 50K in silence, agony, and awe as racer after racer stopped at the aid station near the finish as their mid-point for the 100K. How do they do it? I have no idea and probably will never know, but I do know this:
  1. Ultra runners are some of the toughest people I have ever seen
  2. You can't think of a mountain race as a run in the woods...study the terrain and the route
  3. If you are running a race, take the time to go to the pre-race events that are organized for you
  4. Your limits are only bound by how much you push to exceed them...but they're always there!

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