Maybe The Answer Is To Keep Not Quitting Over and Over

I’ve recovered.

My last story (one week ago; gulp) was a 500-word whine-fest about my first attempt at a century. I love pain and I especially love suffering a little, but that kind and that caliber pushed me to my absolute limit. Part of it made me feel like I shouldn’t be out there doing that distance with those riders. Read all about it in the link above. 

Physically, I’ve recovered since then. With a little stretching and foam rolling, my legs were back to normal after a couple days and my confidence was restored when even the strongest riders in group admitted they’d had a hard day, too.

But, mentally, I couldn’t shake the disappointment. So I headed for the trails.

When things are hard, that’s my place to work it out. And I knew if I had a little alone time in the dirt something would come. That I’d maybe figure out why that failed long ride still throbbed in the back of my head. So I waited until 18* turned into at least 28* and headed for Marshall Mesa. My favorite.

It was going to be long one, I could already feel it, so I zipped up my favorite jacket, popped in my headphones, and shuffled through some podcasts. I’d been holding on to Nicole Antoinette and Devon Yanko’s interview for the right run, and this was it. Listening to these two women is like a therapy session on steroids.

Not too far in and not too far up, Devon described a painful experience at Western States. A crew member didn’t show up at one of her aid stations; she had a not-so-minor meltdown, said some things I’m sure she’d take back, and left without enough food or fluids. She was pissed. And she let it ruin a good portion of the race for her.

“I could’ve saved myself a lot of grief if I had given myself some grace. I’m not hard on myself for not performing. I’m hard on myself for who I fundamentally am as a person. It’s like the idea of worthiness and lovability. When you’re running 100 miles you’re shredding yourself to the core.”

Biking 100 miles. Running 100 miles. When you are outside of your element, at your lowest, or in the middle of a situation that’s completely out of your control…who you really are fundamentally as a person is revealed.

The trail got steeper and my lungs heaved. I was simultaneously sweating and freezing and I tried to take in as much oxygen and as much as Devon’s wisdom as I could.

Maybe that’s it. 

I swear I could feel the throb of failure lessen. Just a bit.

Like Devon, I am hard on myself for who I am as a person. For how I react to difficult situations. For the things I say—especially to myself and about myself.

Unlike Devon, I am very hard on myself for not performing. In college I was so used to performing well. After college, I picked up cycling and destroyed weekly morning rides with some of the strongest cyclists in town.

Maybe that’s it: The epic combination of not finishing and not loving the way I reacted to the not finishing. 

But how do you fix that? I got back to the car and sat and thought. Here’s what I came up with:

1. Remember I get more than one shot at it.
2. Remember there’s learning in the failing.
3. Remember it’s for fun not for money.
4. Remember it doesn’t change what people think of me.
5. Remember how much I’ve already accomplished.

I knew something would come; God, I love trail running. Century, here I come.

Are you working toward anything? Are you hard on yourself if you don’t achieve something?

Push on, PUSH ANIMALS >>>

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