Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What if you can't quit?

Saturday was a scheduled 35 mile afternoon/evening run, with the final 13 miles on the challenging Potowatami Trail (in the Pickney MI area).

Schedules changed and it became a hurried 14+ mile run starting in the late morning, and I proved not at all ready.  I hadn't eaten, didn't warm up, didn't mentally prepare for the hours of running ahead.  When my start time moved from 3pm to "now!"  all careful planning and preparation went out the window and I just needed to run.  Which I did, and way too fast.  Big mistake...

My buddy picked me up (the new plan was for me to just run 'til he caught me) and we drove the balance of the miles to the trail.  Just like that I went from clicking off sub 9's to struggling with something around 11.  "I just need to regroup, get warmed up again..." I told myself.  "It is a difficult trail, relax, you'll be fine..."  I tried to convince my ever doubtful mind and body.  Then, just like that, I was...

First it was just the big hills.  Then the little ones.  Then I didn't need a reason...

I let my buddy go on ahead and I started a litany of "whoa is me" mental breakdown moments.  Which led to...

Wishing (akin to Quitting):
Is there a shortcut?  Maybe a Park Ranger will see me and offer me a ride?  Why did I do this to myself?  I want it to just be over - this was a stupid idea...

Having shuffled my way back to the trail head, we drove off to find something cold to drink and I started to realize what a moment I had missed.  While wallowing in my self induced pity party I completely forgot that I had been doing, even though poorly, what is usually a high point of my day.

While I was wishing I could quit, that my pain would end, that the run would just be done, I forgot a truth that I had promised myself years ago I never would - to never forget those who can't simply choose to quit, to call it a day.  Those that can't say "I don't want to be sick today" or "I don't want to be injured any more".   Having dealt with back pain for nearly 15 years, several times brutally so, I had developed a sensitivity to the mental and physical challenge of chronic injury and disease and never wanted to take something like "just going for a run" for granted.

A cold drink, a cool shower, some time on the couch and I was well on my way to being physically restored.  Simple as that.

After some good fueling and quality rest I did have a recovered body.  The fresh perspective helped to revitalize my spirit.  So, now I am...

Recommitted - to Being and Doing and Growing
  1. "Being" appreciative of all that I have and am able to do - even when it doesn't go as planned.
  2. "Doing" - taking action where I can, especially for those that cannot.  To pray for restoration of body, soul and spirit.  To encourage with a kind word.  To give of my time, talent and treasure. 
  3. "Growing" - continuing to learn from my friends that do struggle with debilitating challenges, and do it with grace and peace and even joy.  You know who you are and you ROCK!
Right now, for me, it means Running for RA!  Even a bad run is still a blessing and in my head I know it is often the bad runs that are especially helpful in preparing you for the truly tough moments (in racing and in life).

Persevering through the tough moments is usually the precursor to the joy of victory.

I will continue to tackle bigger challenges and learn appropriate lessons - trusting that it will guide me to the 100 mile ultra finish line.

Press on friends!
    Your well wishes and encouragement are sure appreciated!  Keep the notes coming :-)
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