So slow and steady (my usual running pace) was what I did for the three hours and four minutes I was out running. Each 12.5K lap was an even 1:32, with no dawdling at aid stations and only one pee break. I walked up the (many) hills and then ran down the other side and, of course, running when it was flat. I tried so hard to appreciate how gorgeous the trails were and how awesome and friendly all of the racers and volunteers were. But over my head the entire time hung a dark cloud, feeling grouchy and sorry for myself that I was fantastically outclassed by the talent out on the trails that day. Ultra runners around me were talking about their plans for the Canadian Death Race
, Massanutten 100 Mile Race
or were conservatively running the 25K because they were injured. Even when I crossed the finish line, I should have been happy — instead I just wanted to keep running to keep the negative voices quiet; the voices that told me that I didn’t belong with these runners. While eating my post-race veggie dog and looking at the results, I felt even worse — not only did I come in 9th last, but a full hour slower than the winning woman.