Two years ago I swore that I would never run the IMTR 50 miler again. Apparently 2 years is just long enough to forget why I made that promise. A few friends had signed up with plans to rent the same house we'd stayed in 2 years ago...and well...it sounded like fun. We were going to hang out, drink beer, run a little, then drink more beer. By the time I actually got around to signing up, the race was full so I added my name to the wait list and promptly forgot about it until about 6 weeks out from the race when I received an email informing me that I got in. Whoopdidoo! Needless to say, I was probably a little undertrained as I stepped up to the starting line.
At mile ~28ish I ran into one of my friends staying with us in the house we'd rented who'd just finished Western States 2 weeks before. He was hurting; fighting off cramps and spasms every time he picked up the pace, and had been facing the same question I had been for the past 15 miles- is this worth the finish? By then it felt good to be past the halfway point, but in reality we still faced about a marathon worth of running with at least 2 really long, really steep climbs before the finish. We walked/jogged together for awhile, trying to help each other probe these questions, in the back of our minds knowing that we would both push on. And that we did. I finally finished just under the cut-off, rounding the corner to the finish line amid many cheering fans. It was not the best race I'd ever run, not the fastest finish, but it was a reminder that with the right mindset I could do anything.