Sneaker Diaries – Tough Days and Perspective

By February 27, 2024 No Comments

This past weekend, I had a really rough day at the office. I participated in a local 50k held on the trails where I do the majority of my running. Despite being aware of my current fitness level after a challenging start to the year, I made a rookie mistake and went out way too hard. Sometimes, you can start too fast and still have an amazing day, pushing past what you thought was possible thanks to the early pacing. However, I did not have that type of day. I had the kind of race that started off fast, gave me false confidence when the early miles felt relaxed, and then came crashing down when things got hard and I had many more miles to cover. Sometimes, things just don’t go your way on race day, and that was my reality.

However, when I think back on my day, I will have nothing but laughs and smiles. The reason was the amazing atmosphere and the people I had the opportunity to run with during the race. I ended up sticking around with some other runners, and we got to watch many people cross the finish line and collect their finishing mug. It put a lot into perspective and gave me time to hang out with people that I don’t get to see very often. The types of friendships or relationships you make through trail running seem to be different for me than in a road race. Even during the race itself, when the wheels started coming off for me, everyone that blew by me said hello, and we talked briefly. Everyone was dealing with their own struggle but not so much that they couldn’t make sure everyone was okay or needed anything. Heck, I shared some Dude Wipes from my pack with a total stranger. That’s just what you do. Not that I would run by and kick someone while they were down in a road race, but the level of mutual respect and camaraderie just feels different in a longer trail race.

I not only witnessed many people experience their big moment at the finish line, but I also had the chance to meet some wonderful individuals who are customers at our shop. In that group, was a new local resident named Jason. Jason had stopped by the store to inquire about some hiking shoes last fall. One of our staff told him about our local trails and the 50k that was held there in February. Well, Jason picked up a pair of Altra’s, went home, read up on the race, took 4 months to get ready for it, and then came out this weekend and ran longer than he ever has in his life in the woods. He was so happy after the race, and it turned my entire day around. Jason’s story and energy are what I will remember from the race. Not my blow-up or the sitting down on a tree stump at the top of a hill because I just needed a break. It was seeing people live their best lives and spending time with friends and eating vegetarian chili next to a fire by the finish line with a bunch of other enthusiasts on a February afternoon.