The second time I did this race, and the only Ultra course/distance I have so far attempted (though my goal is to one day run a 100-miler).
This particular race, I was FLYING. Though it was 31 miles, at about the 20 mile mark, I was already feeling the finish line. I was in the zone! But then…..I stopped paying attention and WHAM! My toe caught a root and before I knew it I was flying downhill, face-first into the dirt trail.
I was too stunned to move for a minute, and then I sat up (embarrassed) and assessed the damage. Nothing felt broken, but my knee…..it was completely punctured. I pressed on it a little, and before blood began gushing out of it I swear I saw the white bone of my kneecap exposed.
Some nice people I had just ran by helped me hobble to the nearest aid station (about 2 miles ahead). We talked and I was grateful for the company. But I was upset, I was losing time! They bandaged me up at the aid station and flushed out my wound several times (ow). Then as soon as they were done with me, off I went. I was going to finish no matter what it took! About 10 miles later I crossed the finish line, in pain but feeling elated….high on endorphins and utterly euphoric.
This was a really meaningful race for me, I had never felt so motivated, so positive, or so full of perseverance as I had during that race. Yes, I fell…but I got up and I FINISHED that race, it didn’t finish me. This is the real-world application of running. No matter what happens, pick yourself up and keep going. You can do anything if you want it bad enough!