I’m Not a Pro

Dec 01, 2022

But I just spent a week training in a pro’s playground

I am not a pro athlete, but I’ve spent the last week training and living at the Mammoth Lakes Crib.

When you’re a midpack runner it’s hard to see yourself at a level of ability close to the pros. You diligently look at their shoes, “will these make me faster?!” You diligently look at their gear, “will this jacket (vest, headlamp, pair of shorts, the list goes on and on…) make me look legit?!” 

Whether conscious or not, I think when you’re an “average athlete” it can be daunting to compare your training in your sport to the pros. You look at what they are doing with awe, but their actions and adventures feel out of reach for someone like you.

Hi, I’m Liz Fieser and I’m a mid-pack runner! 

I’ve been a trail runner for the last 15 years. I found the trails where I grew up in Tennessee challenging and fun (minus the poisonous copperhead snakes in the summer). In the days before smartwatches, I’d run for as long as felt fun and sweaty. As I got older, I took trail running with me. Distances became longer and dream destinations were those with mountain vistas and truly epic trails.

However, I never felt “allowed”  to visit epic places that the pros played in because I thought I needed to earn that right of passage through race results and Strava segments. 

My first time in Chamonix, France I felt imposter syndrome because those trails were where legends were made. I felt that in Mammoth Lakes when I first came here in 2018. Upon my return this November, I felt that familiar feeling creep in, “am I good enough to be here?” 

Mammoth Lakes isn’t just where legends make history, it is where legends get their start.

Mammoth Lakes is a slice of heaven, sitting at 7,881 feet above sea level, the trails out of town lead to mountain tops, crystal blue lakes, and epic vistas. Of COURSE, as a midpack runner, I felt out of my league on this trip. The Eastern Sierra is a legend-making destination where the best of the best train, recoup, and dream of conquering finish lines, finding routes, and creating new lines. 

But Mammoth Lakes isn’t a judge of your skill. She is as open and wonderful as the community that resides in the town limits. Mammoth Lakes is where mid-packers like me get to test my body’s limits, train just as hard as the pros, and play in an unreal backyard.

I think that the beauty of a place like Mammoth Lakes is that it isn’t just where legends make history, it is where legends get their start. It is where mid-packers take one step faster, one step harder, and one step closer toward realizing that we are good enough to be here. Good enough to be anywhere that fuels our souls, our passions, our dreams, even if we aren’t taking home the ribbons, trophies, or titles. 

Liz Fieser

Liz Fieser is a wandering soul with a knack for adventure and a deep sense of curiosity. Currently, Liz calls Squamish, British Columbia, a small mountain town outside of Vancouver, home. When she's not on the trails in Squamish, Liz loves to travel to places that inspire, challenge, and teach her more about the world…

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