Hope is a Four Letter Word

For the first time since getting sick, I feel hope. Even though last week I thought there was no way possible, I’m going to go ahead and try the Palo Duro 50K next weekend. After today’s run, I’m really looking forward to it.

Despite a lingering cough and very sore ribs, I ran last weekend. I was slow, my legs were dead, and I was as sore afterwards as if I had run twice the distance. It felt so good to run again. I ran 9 miles on Saturday with the group,  and on Sunday I did an 8.6 trail run.

After the two weekend runs I felt like I had run a marathon. My legs were sore, really sore. I was amazed at how much conditioning I had lost from just two weeks of complete inactivity. On the flip side, I was still strong on the hills, especially on the short trail hills, so at least there was that. Even if my legs didn’t have a 50K’s worth of running in them, I could at least go out and see how far I got, taking a DNF if need be.

Palo Duro Canyon

Palo Duro Canyon

I lost seven training runs during weeks 17 and 18 of a 20 week training plan. I lost 55 miles of running two weeks before the race. Never having been in this situation so close to a race, I’ve really had no idea how to salvage these last two weeks. I decided to go by feel and run a little more mileage than the training plan calls for this week, and do yoga like crazy to loosen up and gently regain some lost strength.

Yesterday I ran 6 easy miles with Liz and Hari, and this morning I did a 6 mile tempo run with Liz, Hari, and Bill. Yesterday was good, but today I felt great. Yes, the ribs still hurt, but Liz and I ran fast, and it felt amazing. I know speed doesn’t equal endurance, and I certainly won’t be the setting any speed records in Palo Duro, but it was a good enough run to give me some hope.

Even better, I saw on the race website today that there’s a 12 hour cut off. I’m pretty sure, barring a fall that cracks more ribs or something dire like that, I can finish within 12 hours. As long as I can still move my legs, I’m pretty sure I can finish.

So today I feel hope again, and am very excited about racing in Palo Duro Canyon next weekend.



  1. iRuniBreathe

    Yay! Yay! Yay! Pace, food, easy and good are also four letter words. I’m thinking of all these things for you and feeling great about your race. This will be good and you will do it. Your conditioning may have had a set-back but you know what your mind can do and that your body can do it as well. So excited for you now!! Yay HOPE!

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      Thanks so much. Trail races are different in that there’s no shame in walking up the hills when need be. I will take advantage of that when I get tired. I also promise to get lots of rest this week and eat well. I’m actually starting to feel really, really excited!

  2. AndrewGills

    Good to hear that you’re still able to do the race 🙂 I read somewhere that it’s better under trained than over injured. The article or website was about what to do if you get injured a few weeks before a race. It says that you can see it as part of your taper. You’ve done the miles so you’ll be right 🙂

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      Several other people have told me the same thing about it being part of the taper, but it is terribly disconcerting to sit on the couch for two full weeks and not have it mess with your head. I do absolutely agree that being under trained is much better than being over trained. I’ve been over trained before and my legs weren’t fresh for the race–and I paid the price. If you remember the article or website I would love to read it.

      • AndrewGills

        It might have come from the Ultra Ladies website (the one where you got your training program). But I read way too many websites and blogs so it could have come from anywhere – haha 😉 [Good thing I’m my own boss or I’d probably get in lots of trouble for reading all that running stuff during work hours – LOL]

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