The story behind my Stanky Creek 25k race is much longer and, frankly, more important than the actual race itself. For the most part, the hardest part of a race isn’t the actual race: it’s the months or years of training that lead up to it. But since I started running, and possibly with the exception of my very first marathon and 50 miler, I have struggled with meeting my race expectations after excellent training cycles.
In the year since I (barely) finished my first 100, Burning River, I had a lot of time to think and reflect on why this was. Part of it was, of course, that I simply wasn’t training hard enough or specifically enough; it is really easy to settle into a routine of slow, long runs when training for ultras. But the other thing is that I was sabotaging my goal race efforts with impatience and not training mentally to race at my peak. Stanky Creek was my first, but hopefully not my last time where I trained well, ran hard, and raced smart.