When Chessa Adsit-Morris, 35, learned that the Fourmidable 50K would be the USATF 50K National Championships and USA National Team Selection race, she knew it would help kick start her racing again. On February 16, the Canadian/US dual-citizen raced to third place in Auburn, California in 4:24:30, winning $500USD. In 2015, Adsit-Morris won her first 50K race, but her recent running journey has been anything but linear. Adsit-Morris explains, “It’s been a roller coaster ride.”
Since 2016, Adsit-Morris has been pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of California Santa Cruz. Surrounded by endless singletrack, the Canadian was keen to dive into the trail racing scene. However, her trail took a turn when she was diagnosed with a rare chronic nerve disease called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CPRS). She took nine months off from running, and only began making race plans in early 2018. The Fourmidable 50K National Championships became the key to kickstart her racing again. “I was determined to set a big race goal and stick to it,” she says.
Since diagnosed with CPRS, Adsit-Morris’ run program involves a high degree of cross training. Her plan looked like an eight-week marathon build, focusing on volume and tempo. She runs four to five days a week, cycles three days, and pool runs and strength trains two days a week. For long distance trail races, “lack of running volume can be a bit nerve wracking.”
At the start line, Adsit-Morris felt nervous, with fluctuating expectations. Her positive mindset helped her run strong, run with confidence, and stick to her race plan. At the 20K mark, a volunteer yelled at her, “You look much stronger than the gals that just came through!” Adsit-Morris got the boost she needed to keep pushing. In the last 10K, she finally caught the third-place runner, and worked hard to stay in front until the finish. Adsit-Morris’ husband currently lives in Vancouver, but spent the weekend crewing and cheering in California for the race. “It was great to be able to share this success with him.”
After winning The North Face 50K in 2015, Adsit-Morris spent almost a month recovering. This time around, recovery is going much better. Adsit-Morris jokes this may be due to drug testing. At the Fourmidable 50K finish line, she was sent straight into drug testing, which took two hours and five bottles of water. Perhaps “the forced hydration [will] help my recovery this time!”
Before she gets back to ramping up running, Adsit-Morris will be racing FishRock and Skaggs on her bike in March. And although first and second place at the Fourmidable 50K automatically qualified for the 2019 USA National Trail Team, Adsit-Morris’ outstanding performance does not go unnoticed. She may be considered for the remaining three open spots for Trail World Championships in Portugal.