40 Miles is A Long Way

I had to go 40 miles to find it again.


To let go of preconceived notions of fitness.

To find the simple pleasure of running.

I had to suffer, mostly alone, not fit enough for a race I shouldn’t have signed up for.

7 hours in the mountains. Slogging through the mud and water, a result from a very wet summer due to the very real effects of climate change.

The first 20 were fun and I flew. I saw and felt the joy. I felt weightless and steady.

The second 20 the wheels came off like I expected. I have residual marathon fitness, not trail fitness.

The last 10 were a complete slog. Walking through 2 feet of mud and water is never a joy, and when I felt I should have been running, it was all the mental strength I could muster to keep going.

I finished. 7 hours on the nose. With a smile, because everything was good.

I took about a year off the trail circuit. I needed the time off. Time to run freely, with zero expectations. I didn’t put pressure on myself to be someone I wasn’t. I simply ran what I needed.

Coming back to MOTG, for the third time, was like coming home. But a different home. The home I missed, the home I needed. The family who could help me enjoy running in a different way.

I still love the roads and I will always feel strongest on them. I love everything I did this past year. I needed it. I will continue to pursue road races until the end of the year.

But 2020…the ultras might be calling me, and I must go.

Ellie Pell