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Ultrarunning as a Microcosm of Life: My Black Mountain Monster Report

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It was good.

Then it hurt.

Then I cried.

Now I’m grateful.

That’s all I could come up with when I sat down earlier this week to write this post, a report on my experience at the Black Mountain Monster 24 Hour Ultramarathon. Apparently 24 hours is a big thing to process.

Most race reports are presented as a story, and follow a set structure:

Race morning starts out innocent. There’s nervous excitement in the air, and supporters gather around with anticipation.

When the race begins, things come together. You learn about your body, your surroundings, and find a rhythm.

If everything goes right, you continue down the projected path. You eat. You breathe. You begin working with others.

Eventually, though, something will go wrong. You take a misstep or don’t prioritize the right choice. It could lead to a simple hiccup, or it could spiral into something more difficult.

It’s then that you have the first big decision. How do you handle the hardship? You could end everything there. Or fight your way out. Or lean on someone else for support.

What you do at that moment defines the rest of your race.

It gives you courage to fight through the next misstep, or leaves you so drained that the original plan is no longer viable.

Who you have supporting you. How you handle pain and disappointment. What accomplishments and lesson you already have to tap into. They all play into what happens in the end.

It’s almost as if within one single event, you can experience an entire microcosm of life.

The beginning. The good. The ugly. The growth. The result. And the systems you’ve put in place to guide you through it all.

The Beginning

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