Oooh boy. I am less than a week away from my next race…the SUM 100K ultra in Silverton. I haven’t raced in about two years + I am going all out! Of course, when I signed up for this race I had all the time in the world to train. I was going to do epic things…regular weekly runs, exciting mountain adventures, a smattering of weight training sessions. It was going to be awesome.
Along the way I’d fall back in love with running to perform + I’d find a way to actually enjoy an actual training plan of sorts [even that optimistic version of me knew better than to expect true love here — I like schedules, but not the guilt that comes when I inevitably miss scheduled runs]. I really did have epic plans for myself, my body + the race.
Naturally, it all went perfectly + I am so geared up for this race it’ll be a walk in the park.
No, it won’t. Because none of those things happened. I let my grandeur plans get pushed to the back of my mind. When offered a chance to hike with friends or do legit training solo I *always* chose friends. I suppose that is a good thing…for everything except my survival this coming weekend.
As the 6am start time approaches I am beginning to accept my fate. There is a solid chance I won’t make it to the finish line. I realized this last month. I looked at my recent training + the upcoming weeks where my days were filled with work, not mountain adventures. In the moment I realized my only hope was survival + as that unpleasant fact settled in I started to think about not starting…or if I did start, not finishing. In those weeks — wherein I wrote about self sabotage — I was accepting my fate as the DNF [did not finish] I anticipated.
Looking back, today…just 5 days away from the race start, I think I was accepting defeat because I didn’t want to race. I didn’t want to go out into the wilderness just to suffer. I didn’t want to even try to push my limits. Instead I wanted to take a leisurely stroll [in comparison to race-mode suffering] through the San Juans + soak up their beauty. I did *not* want to race.
At this moment that is still kind of true. I’m not jones’ing for a chance to race…in part because I won’t really be racing. I’m grossly under-trained. My physical endurance is lacking + in the past few weeks even my mental fortitude has been failing me. I’m not exactly stoked on racing…not this race, not any race. Even after years off, I’m not jumping to get back into the race scene.
Racing still doesn’t sound “fun”…
However, as the start line looms at the end of this week I can say I am beginning to look forward to taking on the mountains + their stunning trails. The San Juans are gorgeous + home to some trails I would quickly claim as ‘my favorite in Colorado’. I’m in a position where I can get out there + soak it all up…with a healthy side dish of suffering to go along with my feast.
Rather than accepting my demise prior to even putting on my shoes race morning I have shifted my mindset a bit. There is still a very real chance I won’t make it to the finish line…but that is an annoying fact I am going to ignore from here on out.
Instead, I’m going to do what I did prior to the Run, Rabbit, Run 100M years ago. I am going to prepare like crazy this week. There will be no training, but I will be pulling together all the gear, snacks + information I may need at any point. I’m going to over-prepare my drop bags + my crew [hi, Robb + Max!] + my own tiny brain.
It goes without saying that I will have a million excuses to quit — my feet hurt, my legs hurt, my head hurts, this sucks, it’s raining, it’s cold, it’s too sunny, it’s hot, it’s rocky, food tastes bad, water is gross. Oh yea, I’m sure I’ll use every one of those + about 403 similar excuses to try to quit the race.
I will have plenty of reasons to quit…but my wet socks or my broken handheld or my weak headlamp will NOT be an excuse. I have control over those my gear, my nutrition, my hydration + some level of my comfort. I will take control of whatever I can to make the day more bearable, therefore lengthening the amount of time I’ll be able to coax myself along the trail.
It’s a bit sadistic, if you think about it. I’m basically past the point of physically preparing myself so I’m finding other ways to make sure I stay out there, suffering, as long as possible.
Yay, ultra running…it makes so much sense…to no one, ever.