Sunday, June 16, 2013

Will I Finish or am I finished?

We runners are a very self absorbed lot, with our plans, our training, our races, our mileage, our equipment, our food, our FEET. I have often rationalized that being obsessed with the details of something which really does not matter (my completing the race affects only me and only for a short time) helps me deal with the "real" problems in life.

I have been spending my time the past few weeks suffering from self doubt regarding my ability to complete the San Juan Solstice 50 miler. OK, finishing or not finishing...not a big deal really. Not nearly as important as poverty, child abuse, gay rights, gun control, etc, etc.

I did a quick assessment of my recent running: since 2009, I have "failed to complete" five 50 milers. In one, I switched to the 25 mile option, in another I became hopelessly lost and had to hitch a ride back to town and in a third I failed to make a cut off. The others? I was too hot or too cold. This is becoming a habit.

I never used to DNF. If I started a race, I finished the race unless I was injured. I finished one 50 miler without being able to keep food down beginning at mile 13! I finished a 40 miler with a sprained ankle, and a 25 miler 5 weeks after a hysterectomy.

Now I am obsessing over not finishing. I have begun telling myself that if I quit another race, it means I am done. If I do not finish, I am finished. I am too old, too dusty, too weak-willed. A couple of friends on facebook just DNF'ed 100 milers. They have a slew of comments on their attempts. I'll give you a sample:

  • It takes a lot of courage to gut it out for as long as you did in those conditions and then make the SMART move to know when to fold em' as the Gambler once said.
  • you are awesome!! No one else does that. That's just amazing to me!! 
  • you always amaze and inspire me! Rock on!
  • That was an incredible effort with superb training benefits. I know you will put the experience to good use
  • You're not just a great runner, you're smart too. 
  • Hey that is Awesome...75 miles...omg! So proud of you!
  • You had the courage to say yes to running 100 miles and you started... that's the victory. You rock
  • u should be proud of what you did accomplish, and to run 50 miles through that terrain is mind boggling. You are always an inspiration and I send you three cheers - hip hip hooray, hip hip hooray, hip hip hooray!! 
  • What an accomplishment!! Enjoy the rest of your vacation!

Now don't get me wrong. I understand the need to support a friend who has just had to abandon a goal. but is it ok to drop out of a race?

As Yoda said: Do or do not, there is no try. If I "do not" finish this race, do I switch to "do not"? Am I finished?

1 comment:

  1. You are smart, brave, and awesome. You just don't like 50 milers. Good luck this weekend. I love you.