Really, just go somewhere else and read something, this isn’t for you. This is for me.
Some things in this may come off as over dramatic, well, maybe that’s because I am. Because I have a passion for the things I do.
This past weekend was, for all intents, an amazing weekend. But an eye opener. I knew I was under trained and this weekend would be a good test as of where I am at physically with several things on the calendar. As of Sunday evening, a little physically, mentally and emotionally broken…the calendar was wiped clean. For the last 4 years of racing (calendar wise) I pushed myself in every distance, from starting at ground zero and all the way up thru 100 mi last fall. 3 years, 8mos to be precise. Every distance checked off, and a further push to prove to “someone” that I was “good enough”.
Funny thing is, I never found that “someone” or was ever “good enough”.
I’ve done some pretty hard events, crazy conditions, but I kept pushing so I could find out who I am.
Well this past weekend, standing at the top of the (near) summit of Whiteface after a brutal push thru nasty conditions and a misdirect that pushed the whole first half of the race up the wrong path, my knee was hurting, and I was done. I made the climb in 1:03 which given conditions and really just saving myself for the rest of the race, I thought was respectable, but was really only half pack. Standing there I realized something. Something that was staring at me since OC100 8 months ago.
I’ve lost it.
I’ve lost passion, I’ve lost drive and desire.
And I don’t know why. I can’t pinpoint when it happened, or why, just that it did. As hard as the race was, and as fun as it could’ve been, it wasn’t.
I was undertrained, and why? I haven’t gotten into a training groove, I constantly feel like I’m slipping on mud going downhill unable to keep myself upright. Other things feel more important, more right.
I sit and watch my friends (or at least I think they were at some point) out train, out perform, out distance, and just move on with their training to the point where I just felt behind and have no motivation, and no one to train with. I’ve become negative, depressed, lost. No one wants to be around that.
This isn’t a pity party. We each make our own roads and travel down them. I guess I’ve made mine with giant hazard cones leading the way.
Standing there staring into the fog of what was to come on this downhill, I realized it was time to step away, step back. I talked with a friend on the way back and kind of explained most of this.
Why did I get started in ultras? Because I wanted to feel special, wanted to do awesome things and one day reach Western States. Nearly all of my decisions have been me pushing to one of those three things. And the one that may have caused the most damage is Western States. My first year of running ultra’s I qualified by 4 minutes. My second year lead to me DNF at my first 100, and DNF at my second attempt at OC100K, failing a qualifer. The following year, shorter races were out of WS qualifiers, I had stomach issues I couldn’t resolve missed my short race qual with a DNS, and walked 60 of my 100 miles at OC100 to finish and get the qualifier. rolling in this year, qualifications changed and it meant I would have to find a harder course due to travel and training commitments. But for some reason, pushing myself just isn’t there.
This year, I will not qualify for WS100.
My tickets for the lottery will be reset back to zero. Again.
I came home from Sunday and decided to cash in my chips for the year and take the remaining 3 race ultras off the table.
I will not be racing any ultras this year. Maybe never again. But life is funny. As much as I enjoy them and the environment, they don’t agree with me. I’ve been a broken mess for months. Ok years?
Maybe I should’ve never have ran them in the first place.
The reality is, your not special for running an ultra, your not awesome.
Your just you. And it defines you. For good and bad.
So now what? Well… I’m in a reboot of sorts. Going to focus on short, fun races. get my body and mind in the right place. Run some adventure runs, get my base and body up to a place where I can pace someone for an ultra if people can stand me, see if I can get the joy back.
So..taking the compass and throwing it to the ground, and just letting my runs take me where they will, people will see less of me and wonder (most likely not) where I went.
I’m just trying to find myself again.