Friday, June 26, 2015

If At First You Don't Succeed...

If At First You Don’t Succeed...
Kettle Moraine 100 Mile Endurance Run
June 6, 2015

Shortly after seeing a cougar cross the trail in front of me I had decided my race was done.  I made it to mile 93 of the Kettle Moraine 100 Mile Endurance Run in 2013.  This year, I only made it to mile 47.  I had high hopes that this would be my year but nothing went right and nothing felt right from the beginning.  My breath felt more labored than it should on the climbs and my tendonitis was flaring up in my right calf way earlier than expected.  I didn’t have the day I wanted.  
My pace was slower than it was in 2012, I was chasing cutoff times early on.  I had felt pretty confident about this race until I was actually running it.  I wish it was easy to explain why things happen the way they do at an event.  But sometimes, simply put - you have a bad day.  Somewhere after the 50K mark I saw a group of hikers that were standing off to the side of the trail with their kids, dogs, and day packs.  I smiled and said hello as I ran past them.  Almost a mile further down the trail I came to an intersection that did not have any markings.  I knew there should be yellow flags to tell me which direction to go.  I found a nearby trail map and realized I had made a huge mistake and missed a turn.  After yelling some choice words to the nearby squirrels and birds I headed back to retrace my steps. When I found the turn I had originally missed, I realized that the day hikers had been standing right in front of the sign that was supposed to tell me to turn.  I tried to run faster to make up time but managed to trip on a rock, fall onto a downed tree limb and land with my face only inches away from a patch of poison ivy.  
I made it to the next aid station and my crew was not there.  I guess my pacing was so far off where it should be that they didn’t even know when to expect me.  I moved onward but each step I could feel myself losing my motivation.  I also felt the tendonitis pain and some pretty good blisters growing.  The cougar crossed my path and I didn’t even flinch.  I just looked up and said, “Huh, you don’t see that every day.”   When I got to the Emma Carlin aid station and saw my husband, I just fell apart.  I cried and told him that this day was not working out.  I knew that with the pain that I was in, I would not be able to keep going and finish within the cutoff.  Typically he tells me that quitting is not an option, but I guess even he knew that this day was done.  We packed up my gear and went home.  
Do I feel like a failure?  Yes and no.  Yes, because I did not finish.  But I did the best I could on that day.  No, I don’t regret my decision to quit.  I did the best could with what the day delivered to me.  In the words of Henry Ford, “No one really fails, who does his best.”  
I am going to find out if the third time is the charm in 2016.

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