Wow, what an experience. Who would have thought you don't Have to finish something you start? It was childhood message, along with many other 'loving' things I "owned" that I never finished anything I started. I set out sometime in my teenage years to prove this wrong. And I've done that, and then gotten trapped by it. I know I can, so why force it.
At 26 years old I'm only starting to learn that it's up to me what I do. What my readers think of my writing, what my fellow runners think of me, what my friends think of me, as deeply routed as the belief is that I MUST be what I want them to believe me to be, I don't, and even more so, I can... change my mind?? Oh my god!
Long story short, I'm not that bad off. I've been recovering from 2012 for months while working on a few other things, like my inability to trust people and my need to outwardly struggle with my emotions in an attempt to push people away, a new job and some other great things. I mean this is life, whether or not we care to focus on the same things, we all deal with 'stuff'. We all have things we do, ways we act that aren't really great. It is a part of the human condition. Anyway, ya'll are reading to hear about my race so:
I didn't know about running HAT...the whole weekend got to be a bit much, between everything else in life I just didn't know what to do. Most importantly I was afraid of putting my running back in the gutter, I just started to feel good again. I spoke to a friend a day or two before the race who suggested I let go of the "need to finish" and just enjoy it. Seemed simple, I mean thats why I do it, run ultras....right?
So I considered it and then I thought it was great idea. In the mean time another friend offered to come with me, I was so Excited! I rarely have friends say, "I would love to come to your race, it sounds like fun!" So it was decided, I was going to the run, then what? I left it TBD...
It was a cold morning, but sunny, the sun was warming us all, but the heat was flowing out of our bodies as we patiently bounced around at the start line. And then we were off. The first loop was 1.4 miles- I couldn't help but appreciate the spectator friendly course with a friend there. We came through the start area again 3.4 miles into the run and then headed off for loop 1 of 2- 13.7 miles.
It was amazing, the course I mean... but now I had caught up with Laura another runner I'd recently been in contact with and had offered emotional support as a fellow runner who nderstood my burn out. We ran together and chatted for a while when I looked ahead and saw Ms. Jackie Palmer, yet another amazing ultra runner I just haven't had the opportunity to see in quite a while so I picked up the pace to catch up and say hi. That lasted about a mile, when I decided there was no reason to be running that hard today so after our conversation I dropped back.
The course was gorgeous, my favorite style of trail: rolling hills, winding path with roots and rocks, ever changing ground... I was in heaven. In some time I passed through the aid station at picnic area and saw almost everyone else I was looking for that day. I chatted with Christian, said hi to Robert and his wife, who run the Picnic Area aid station annually, ran with AJ a bit. What a great run! Headed out of the aid station I got a peek at the sweatshirt you get for finishing the run. Suddenly I considered sticking out the 31.1 miles for the piece of clothing. I went back and forth as Laura and I climbed the following miles up to the start/ finish area.
Somewhere around 15 miles, I said to Laura, "this is has been wonderful, gorgeous day, gorgeous course, wonderful people, and I feel good. I think I'm going to go home." I was empowered by my own plan. I was going to go home and feel good, and continue my day with more friends and attend a birthday celebration with my boyfriend. I was happy, totally.
So when I got to the start/ finish area the aid station workers were looking to assist me, when I told them I was stopping, they attempted to convince me to "save my race" and I smiled and said "thank you so much, but my race doesn't need saving, I feel good and I'm going to stop now." And that was that, I went over and the told the race coordinators I was dropping and Kim and I headed home.
I had a wonderful time and wonderful day. Which I struggled with later, as expected... not finishing wasn't ALL that easy, but it was also nice to feel in charge of my running again, it had seemed as if I had run away from myself for a bit too long. So this is short and sweet, pretty basic lesson, that I needed to practice...
So Thank You to everyone I saw and spoke to and ran with and who volunteered etc...