Race Report 2019: Amy Mower
It was a race I had never even really considered. I came out of my 6 day race last New Years a changed runner. The race had been physically grueling, but even more challenging was the mental recovery.
Spartathlon - this way...
It was a race I had never even really considered.
I came out of my 6 day race last New Years a changed runner. The race had been physically grueling, but even more challenging was the mental recovery. For weeks – perhaps months afterwards, I felt conflicted about my relationship with running. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go with it, and it seemed in some way meaningless. I was signed up for 6 Days at the Dome, but mentally I knew I wasn’t ready to go back and take on another 6 day that soon after ATY. I sent out a plea on Facebook asking for races that might ignite passion. I wanted shorter; I wanted different; I wanted new and exciting and something that was not in a loop (although I love those). I wanted a journey.
Bob Hearn suggested Spartathlon. He used a gentle touch… just put in the application, he said. Even if you get accepted, you don’t need to make a decision until May.
Hmmm. Why not.
I was at work one day and saw a text on my phone from Bill Schultz. He was congratulating me on making the team.
I jumped online and saw Emily Collins’ Facebook post with the team pick. Oh. My. God. I was on the US Spartathlon team. If I wanted it.
I wanted it.
I completed the paperwork; I put my money down… and then, I began to get worried.
I am not fast. The early cutoffs, I knew, were brutal. Despite the fact that it has a 36 hour cutoff for the full 153 miles, the 50 mile cutoff was at a mere 9 hours 30 minutes. My 50 mile PR at that point was a 9:10, and I’d only done that once. And from what I’d heard, some of the early cutoffs were even worse.
There was every chance I would not be able to finish the race… not because I couldn’t do 153 in 36 hours, but because I might not be able to do 50 in 9:30.
A plan was in order.
In addition to the regular running, I decided to throw in a 12 hour race over the summer and try to get as close as I could to 70 miles. My usual strategy is to never run uncomfortably, but I knew to meet those cutoffs I’d need to be uncomfortable, so the plan was to run as hard as I could sustain for 12 hours. Katie came to Ethan Allen with me and I managed to hit 67.9924 (WTF? hoping for 68) miles. It was good enough for the win, but even better, met my goals of a hard long run. I started feeling more confident.
Also starting mid-July, (after a year of BJ urging me to do so), I started run commuting. This gave me the benefit of both being able to get in a few more miles, a bit more sleep, and some good downhill practice on the last 2 miles every day into DC.
The final pivotal workout was a run with Larry Huffman. In preparation for his Cascade Crest race we went over to Maryland Heights trail to get in some vert. Each loop was about 3.8 miles - 1.9 up up up with 1200 feet of climb, then down down down over terrifying rocks and roots. Our plan was 5 loops to get in about 18 miles with 6K of climb. On loop 3 I went down, and shortly after, rolled my ankle. There was a golf ball sized lump on the outside of the ankle later that evening, but I was thrilled to find on my run the next day that the ankle didn’t bother me at all. My quads, on the other hand…. Clearly got what they needed. It took a few days to reap the rewards, but reap them I did.