The 100 That Wasn’t & The Ashley That Isn’t

I was so pumped to do this race.

Anyways… here’s the “recap”:

I was out in the mountains for over 11 hours, ran a good 40-45 miles of mostly climb, and mainly off course. I spent the rest of that time trying to figure out where the heck I was and how myself and others [who weren’t even with me at any turns] all got so dang lost while ending up in the same wrong place. Technically only made it to the 26 mile aid station- 11+ hours in, and with well over 40 miles on my legs. I still had another 75 left to complete the course to get credit for the hundred. At the completely mentally destroyed rate I was moving, and on these crazy mountains- that translated to another 20 plus hours…with no credit of all of that extra mileage.

Could I have done it?..Sure. Did I want to? Shoot…would you???

My mind was so fried from spending so many hours confused on the course. All I wanted to do was see Daniel and just go home. Many shared my sentiments… Daniel is that smokin hot..haha jk but many did share my sentiments on “just wanna go home”.

And when I finally saw Dan, as he came to pick me up..I found out that many others were in the same spot- literally- as I force crammed my way into the mustang piled down with 4 grown men ready to go home after being lost for too long…. haha

(Hello Brad from Indiana, Ed that sells Harley’s, and Ali from Michigan!:) this was the funnest and most entertaining part of my day.)
And I missed this insanity:

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Wow. I’m so sad that this turned out this way. I really am. I wish I could say that it was “just fun to be outside all day”, but that would be lying. It wasn’t really fun, it was interesting I guess. I did enjoy talking to some new friends and old friends- like a really cute couple from Colorado, and Brad from Indiana, and Rich & Martin. That was fun. So there were quite a few moments I enjoyed, and it was a beautiful race put on by passionate people. But overall, i was just really down, and a bit too clouded by the disappointment to enjoy myself. I was upset that my race was ruined, and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. I was ready to run a 100 today. I’m disappointed that it didn’t happen. Getting that much off course destroyed me mentally and physically, and I didn’t care or want it bad enough to keep pushing for an official finish. I know everyone expects me to be the Glass Half Full girl, but sometimes situations just kinda suck major…….And that’s all I gotta say about that. I think I’m too sick to say anything else right now.

But that ain’t all I gotta say! As far as my “seeing if the Ultrarunning Love Affair is rekindled”… it isn’t. Sadly, I fear its closer to over. Not over. Just closer to over.

I found myself being annoyed by silly things today having to do with ultras. Just little things.. like everyone wearing matching crap unintentionally. Leg sleeves, hydration packs, matching lamps and shoes… I felt like everyone else, and it felt weird. I didnt like it. You have to understand this aspect about me, because this is not a cut towards all of the kind and caring people that make up the ultra realm.

I REALLY JUST HATE “FEELING LIKE EVERYONE ELSE” MORE THAN ANY OTHER FEELING IN THE WORLD.

I was annoyed today because I couldn’t shake the thoughts of how ultrarunning is very much a follower sport. I think we’d all like to think we are individuals, yet most runners I ran behind were decked out in all the same colored gear, and talkin bout all the same stuff..myself included. It just happens… And several times throughout the day, after taking note of the mathcimatchiness, I started to wonder if I was falling victim to society- society via ultrarunning- ultrarunning via brand power- brand power via elite athletes.. the list went on and on in my head as I ran. I talked to Amber a while after getting lost the first time, just cracking up about these dumb things via phone while I ran aimlessly. And that’s when it clicked and I started to think- You know? Maybe this isn’t so much my gig anymore. Running in nature is my gig, exploring creation and getting a rush from the experience-that’s my gig. But these races aren’t feelin so much like my gig.

And maybe ultrarunning is my gig, maybe it isn’t. Who knows. I can change my mind whenever. I am a self-declared fickle female after all, it comes in my rights package…and this is my blog so basically you’re reading my personal thoughts on today. So.. Sorry bout your luck.. lol! But yeah. The 100 was a letdown for me today, and the renewed interest in ultra racing that I was hoping for was a letdown as well. Maybe next time.

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15 thoughts on “The 100 That Wasn’t & The Ashley That Isn’t

  1. Amber says:

    This speaks to me. You are not seeking the race itself, rather the feeling of freedom and peace that is only found when you leave the excess and unnecessary behind. Canyon time, that’s what we need.

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    • Ashley Ringo Walsh says:

      How do you always have just the right thing to say? ALWAYS?!!! Yeah, I was dealing with canyon crave as I struggled with my emotions from this yesterday. And after I ran so many hours off course on the Pinhoti, and found out I had to turn around, I started to think – Heck, this is a whole lot prettier than the other course, maybe I should just keep on running here and see where it takes me.. It was a weird feeling. I think after I get over the initial “this sucks” factor, I’m going to write a real experience post on this weekend, and maybe actually edit it!!! Haha

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  2. Cumulonimbus says:

    My sources told me of this race and the sorry excuses for course markings. Shame on the director for not making all directions idiot-proof, or at least logical. I heard that at least half of the participants were lost at one point or another in the race. Some multiple times, some several miles off course, and even some removed from the course by park officials. A competitor’s only job in a running race is to run; not be responsible for land navigation. Sorry you and several others had a steel toe kick to the nuts instead of a fun race, mate. Cheers!

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    • Ashley Ringo Walsh says:

      No, I don’t think it’s all their fault. I think it’s on both the directors and the racers. They have the responsibility of marking the course completely and obviously-with arrows, chalk, ribbon, anything necessary and maybe even unnecessary to guide racers. However, it’s also the participants’ obligation to prepare themselves for the race, and that means knowing the course. I studied the map, but it didn’t really prepare me as well as I would have liked. Plus my brain was conflicted with “stay on the pinhoti” so signs for the pinhoti naturally got my attention, and several others. Also, there were course markings out for bikers that looked like they were for us runners, so that got a little confusing. Don’t call out the race directors though, because they are really nice people, and did everything they could to make this event successful for its first year. Inaugural races always have issues, it takes a long time to develop these things.

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      • Cumulonimbus says:

        Marking the course is completely on the director. Following the course is on the runner. If the director doesn’t do their job, the competitor can’t do theirs. I actually felt pitty for you this time. Normaly, you not training properly shoots you in the goodies. But, when such a large percentage of the participants are wandering around without a clue where to go, that’s totally the director’s fault. There can’t be that many stupid people out there. Chin up, mate. Cheers!

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        • Ashley Ringo Walsh says:

          No- you know what dude? Winning, racing, ultras, marathons— I couldn’t care any less right now, trust me. I flipped through a trailrunner mag last night and wanted to vomit. Plus I’m just sick of seeing your name pop up in my inbox- so check out, MATE.

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  3. keyalus says:

    Chatted with you a bit on Twitter about this, but anyway…

    Regarding the markings, I’m new to trail running and I have an admittedly bad sense of direction. I make stupid mistakes on even well-marked courses. I managed to avoid making major mistakes during the daytime because I had already covered a lot of the course on a training run. I don’t think all the intersections were well marked. If we must change directions, I want multiple flags alerting me to the change and through flags immediately on the other side of the change so that I am sure I’m doing the right thing. I feel like I should never have to stop and wonder if I made the right choice and I found myself wondering a few times.

    I really think they should have clarified too that “blue & white” markings meant sometimes solid blue flags and sometimes striped blue & white flags. I didn’t realize solid blue flags were part of the course for a long time. It also should have been made more clear that there were (usually) confidence flags present every .25 miles. I got off course a few times, but I was always aware of being wrong when I didn’t see any flags. Maybe so many people wouldn’t have been lost for multiple miles, if they had realized this was the case.

    That said, I know the RDs are both very cool peeps. I just think they both are personally very good at trail navigation and assume some things are common sense to everyone.

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    • Ashley Ringo Walsh says:

      Found your comment in spam! I agree with all of the above. All things that can be fixed next year! I think probably the best markings are arrows for potentially missed turnoffs and hidden trails, and flags and cones on the ground guiding you throughout turns and curves. It will be a great course and race once they get the kinks worked out!

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  4. sjstone21 says:

    I just found your blog and i could relate to your post (i think i’ve gotten lost in almost ALL of the Ultra’s i’ve run….even one that was a STRAIGHT out and back trail!). I could also relate to your love/hate feelings of racing and the fact that Ultras (which once were a select group of individual, passionate, simple runners) have now morphed into a more commercial scene. I have found that over the past few years what i loved about running (the simplicity) has now become so complicated (what gear do you “need”, what shoes are the “best”, what foods are going to make you into a super human runner?). Part of me wants to just get back to the simplicity of it all (which i still do — but that makes me feel like the ‘poor’ runner when i go to the races and see everyone in their fancy gear and start to feel inadequate and second-guess myself). Anyway…I just wanted to thank you for your post and let you know that “I hear you” :).
    Best,
    Shannon

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