"WHY DIDN'T YOU DROP?!"..... SIMPLE, BECAUSE I WASN'T FINISHED YET~
International flags dominated the clear blue sky just outside Gwyder Forrest. Teams from all over the world stood anxiously at the starting line of the ultra trail running world championships. I could only pray that today would be a good day, not only for me, but my other American teammates as well. Confident in my abilities, I ran off with the lead female runners ( the French team). We danced over the roots and rocks. My hip strength and climbing ability had improved and I was very excited after the first 15k loop (of 5) when I experienced no Illiotibial band pain ( an injury I had been battling for the last month) and was in a very comfortable 4th place. Making our way through the 2nd loop, my IT-Band would start to stir. No worries, I thought...just keep rolling. NOPE, think again- within the 3rd loop I would sustain complete ITBS with limited range of motion. Trying my best to stay positive as women from various countries easily passed by, I had to accept that I may not finish this race (and it would probably be in my best interest not too push the injury). I decided at this "HARD MOMENT," that I would not drop out until I knew for sure team USA was going to score (count) as a team (this takes 3 women completing the course within 10 hours). Continuously encouraged by my competitors, I was once again AMAZED at the ultra world, almost every women that passed me ( language barrier or not) asked me if I was okay or needed help. *** I love this sport, not just because of the length of the race, or the fact that I get to see some of the most beautiful sights anyone could ever imagine, but mostly the EXCEPTIONAL type of people that participate in them. My teammates Amy and Tracy soon passed by and expressed their concern. Amy effortlessly was top 15 and Tracey soon to follow in top 20. I told them to keep it up and that I wouldn't drop until I knew Stephanie was finishing and we would score.
The trail carried on, but Stephanie never passed by. I found her awaiting my arrival at the next aid station- she had dropped. My heart sank a little, I questioned whether or not I could really hobble my way 30k plus more in the allowed time and pain. I pulled it together and dug deep. I had teammates still out their and we didn't come all this way not to count as a team. The 4th loop was the hardest and the most painful. The hot sun beamed down on me. Thank God I put some extra SIMPLY BARS and GU GELS in my drop bag- it was going to be a LONG day. Finally finding a slow rhythm (so slow I seriously had annoying fly's buzzing around my head), the 5th lap was done and the trail spit me out on the finishing tarmac. Tears streaming down my face, I knew God had a reason for this and my faith was not shaken.
Not all was lost, God let me have a taste of it, and I will be back with team USA to show the world how great we are! I'm hoping I made the point that I do not take my USA jersey for granted, that I came here not for myself, but to represent my country and that I will never take opportunities such as this for granted. For now, I am addressing the injury, making the decision not to compete at the Long Distance World Championships in Poland and praying the lTBS is only that and will settle down in time for NACAC next weekend. **** Picture show and videos below!