Burning River 100 Race Report – Part 1 – Before the Gun

Clove

Star has written 80 posts on Salty Running.

Trail and adventure enthusiast who started on the roads and won't give up my 5:30 am road runs with my neighborhood posse, including my husband. Girl who swears like a sailor but not when she's teaching Sunday School. Self-employed, primarily working for Clif Bar and Company. Eight 100 mile race finishes with five top 3 placements.

Burning River 100 logo

Faith.

Traditionally, faith is defined as having complete and absolute trust or confidence in something or someone.

For most of my life, I’ve had faith.  Traditional faith in God, faith in my husband, and on my best days, faith in myself.  I’ve had that absolute trust or confidence in something or someone that whatever it was, it was going to be okay.

My faith has been rocked to the core over the past several months by events that are inconsequential to this report.

When we feel as if God has abandoned us, as if we don’t understand this glorious “plan” of his, as if it’s simply unconscionable he would let us feel this much pain for so long, it can be a little bit hard to … ummm … keep the faith.  That’s when, instead, we “keep calm and carry on.”

My faith has been restored in twice the measure it’s been challenged.

My friends, this is going to be a good one.

***

They cancelled the awards ceremony at Burning River this year, and I was pissed.

There it is.

This is a race report.  It’s probably going to be the most beautiful race report I’ve ever written.  There were challenges out there, there was pain and there was puke.  There was exhaustion beyond comprehension and a near attempt at dropping.  But really, there was no drama this time.  No wrong turns, no 50-mile battle with nausea, no fights in the woods.

But the week before the race I was pissed.  It was the USATF National Championships – championships – and they cancelled the awards ceremony this year because of the Italian Festival.

I was pissed off in general, because it’s the one time the entire weekend that everyone comes together.  Final finishers are cheered on by those who may have had the luxury of a shower or a few hours of sleep, and 30-hour finishers and award winners alike congratulate each other with stilted zombie hugs at Chef Bill’s breakfast buffet.  Honestly, it’s the highlight of the weekend for me, and I never miss the last hour of finishes.

It was also the first year that I was genuinely running for the win, and it stung.

Connie Gardner ran 19:01 last year, and though she is definitely stronger, faster and more experienced, I was banking on sub-19 and hoping she might be worn out from Mohican.  I knew Jill Perry was coming in, and I knew there other heavy hitters to keep in mind.  But for the first time, I planned to compete – not just finish well – and I didn’t want to be handed my award when I was barely conscious enough to care.

Not incredibly self-evolved.  But honest to a fault.

Then the gun went off at 5 am, and it was the last time I would ever think about the stupid awards ceremony again.

Here we go again…


More to come…

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