What a title huh? It took very little thought or energy.
Have you ever been to the Ozarks? I have. Let me tell you a little bit about the last five hours of my experience…
We knew the temp was going to drop. I did not anticipate what the fatigue would do to what that temp felt like. Lynn came over to me at 11:30 on Saturday night as I sat on one of the three lawn chairs “reserved” for runners. Jason had just left down the trail and I desperately wanted to keep up. Lynn bent down and said, “Jason and I will be just down the trail. You’ll catch us in a bit. Come on, let’s go.” Prior to that “conversation” I was convinced that my race was over.
Instead I could have died of hypothermia. The temp dropped to below freezing and I was not prepared. I did not have warm enough clothes nor did I anticipate moving even close to as slowly as I was. At 11:30pm I left the warmth of the fire and set foot into cold darkness. It wasn’t long before I knew I wouldn’t make it in time to the next aid station. With no cell service my option was to press on so that’s what I did.
Five hours later I made it to the warm fire where my brother, Jesse was waiting for me along with the volunteers who were beginning to wonder if this crazy man was ever going to come out of the woods. At one point I wondered the same thing.
Then, there was the Superior Failure that this writing is called. Imagine the same story, leaving the aid station when I knew I shouldn’t have, felt like death with five miles to go. This time it was the heat though and even that story isn’t what this is all about.
It’s about Superior ’15. As I reflected on my third 100 mile DNF I discovered something. I wasn’t about to die this time. I actually felt as good as I could 72 miles in. Why did I convince myself that my race was over then with just two miles until Sugarloaf aid? I had few answers in the couple weeks off the trail. I had no capacity for answers. I was still riding the high of a 72 mile day.
Once I had a chance to sit back and analyze my experience though I decided it all came down to one word. In ’12 and ’13 I had no choice. I was in real rough shape both times. What I had in ’15 that I didn’t have the other two years is control. In ’15 I had control and it was my choice to stop. It didn’t matter what anyone said to me in those minutes once I had made up my mind to stop. What I learned though is to listen to those people who have your best interest in mind in those moments when you feel there is no way. Some folks made some great suggestions that I brushed off. My mind had been made up.
As I look back on that decision to stop it bothers me sometimes. I only get one shot a year at that distance and to throw the opportunity away seemingly for no reason eats at me. That’s why, this year, I’m more focused than ever and have more confidence knowing that in ’15 I did most everything right. What I need to work on this year is finishing. I’m going to use that word in all of my life. From ’16 on I’m a finisher.
It feels good to have shared that with you so I appreciate you taking the time to read it. Now I can move on to the ’16 season. Stay tuned as in my next writing I’ll be sharing my ’16 calendar and you’ll get an inside look at how I block my schedule and what my rhythm looks like when I’m training for this four ultra spring/summer season. Opt in on the Home page to get my eball recipe for FREE. There’s even a video. It took me years to get it right and I still try different things every time I make them. If you want me to make you a batch you can get 10 for $35 just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.