Amy Rusiecki Finds the Fun In Racing
As I drove to the North Face Endurance Challenge -Northeast Regionals at Bear Mountain, I was anxious. I’ve raced here 3 times before and have never had a great day on these trails. I spent most of the spring on and off injured, and wasn’t sure that my fitness was there. I hadn’t really raced an ultra in months, and so even the 50k seemed overwhelming to consider.
But, once the race started, I finally relaxed. I remembered that I do ultras because I am passionate about running and the trails. I enjoyed the camaraderie of numerous runners out there, catching up with old friends or meeting new one, and seamlessly passing the miles. I kept my head up and took in the views of the Catskills, smiled as I cruised over single track, and enjoyed racing through the trees. I remembered that this is why I run, and took in the miles and experiences. As I slapped Dean high five at 20 miles in, I realized that my legs felt ok -my injury wasn’t bothering me, my fitness was holding up, and I only had 10 miles to go. My anxiety about the race had been unfounded.
With 3 miles to go, and nothing but downhill to the finish, it was the first time I really let go and opened up the stride. I was the first female, and was finally going to have a great day at Bear Mountain! I had a smile plastered on my face, and embraced the fatigue in the legs. I worked with the racers who were near me, as we all charged towards the finish. I cross the finish line and literally jumped for joy. I had conquered the Bear, I had overcome my injury, I had enjoyed 50k of joy, passion, and beauty, and I had loved every minute of it. This is why I run…