Cactus Rose 50, 2014

I’m not a good sad runner. I’m not a good mad runner either. Some how the things I think I’m mad about become things I’m sad about as the miles go by. Its like mile 1 I’m all ready to use my anger to run hard and channel the emotions into energy, mile 4 I’m thinking am I angry? By mile 8 I’m starting to feel hurt and at mile 20 it’s full blown tears. Saturday it was all I could do to stuff the tears away enough to breath after mile 30. When I run my best, I am running happy. A few weeks back I waved at a guy as our paths crossed at a local park. It’s a small park, and many of the people I pass look familiar to me. Apparently I’m not alone in recognizing the running strangers. He said, “Hey Giggle-tails! How many laps today?” And I started to giggle as I yelled, “Last one!” over my shoulder. I hadn’t thought about it before that moment, but I am a giggly runner. Rain makes me giggle. Mud makes me giggle. Getting up after a fall, a giggle…twinkies at mile 15, more giggles. I think the stranger got me right. I need giggles to run. I need to run happy. I wounder why. I read all these inspirational sorties about people who use the pain in their life to spur on athletic achievement, setting personal records by digging deep and being bigger then their past and creating their future. But when I tried to run like that, I fell apart. I’m going to say it straight out, I lost it Saturday. I was crying so hard on Ice Cream Hill that I had an asthma attach. What lead to all this drama for me? Oh, a lot. Mostly I think I approached this race wrong. I tried to be “tough” and “race tough” too. I discovered I am not tough. Anyone who knows me well already knew this…I’m an intrinsic person. And my strength as a being on Earth comes from my ability to love others, not my ability to “dig deep”, “give it all” or any heroic thing that gets noticed. And to be honest, (a goal in all life!) I like that. Seeing my friends get accolades feels better then getting accolades for myself. I view this as personality. My personality is very intrinsic. Nothing better about it, just different then about 85% of the world. Yep. I’m the odd one out. 😉 As such, racing is a hard mix. Tough isn’t an option. Yet I tried on the hat to see, thinking just maybe I could pull it off. Big. Fat. NEVER AGAIN.

3 weeks ago, I got sick. Just a chest cold. Thing is, it never went away. I have asthma, and every so often my asthma affects my athletics. I hate this SO MUCH!!! I do my best to pretend it doesn’t and that I’m fine, but this is honestly the 2nd race (in my adult life) majorly effected by asthma. Boo but so true. I took my inhaler 3 times the first 25 miles then left it (accidentally) at the turn around point . 😦 This leads to another break in my race.
I SUCK at crewing myself. I’m just not that bad@$$. This was the second race were I have had absolutely no crew from start to finish and it sucked for me. I forgot things, took way way way too long in aid stations and (I’m admitting it!) it made me feel pretty sad to be out there running alone. It felt pointless. I never realized how much it means to me to run not from aid to aid but from loved ones to loved ones. I always have loved having a crew, but now I see how I need my crew, not just love them. Yeah, no tough card for me. It means the world to me to have the people who love me in this world at my races helping me run. It means the world to me that the people who I love most care enough about me to help me race. And running without anyone really hurt. This shocked me, because running is what I do that’s just for me, right? Hum. This leads too…
My daddy came to see me!!!!!!! I didn’t know he would. I thought my parents were going on a little vacation this weekend. Benounced to me, they moved their trip to next weekend so my dad could come to my race. It went something like this….
      I left Nachos (mile 35ish) in bad shape. I was so sad (see above). And I’ll admit that seeing the other runners spouses and kids in the aid stations, while it gave me a genuine smile of happy for them, left me hurting. I was trying to get myself to run, chest hurting and spirits in the trash, when I noticed a Nisson Leaf parked on the road. Hum, I though, my Dad drives a Leaf…odd to see one out here. And I hoped it might be my dad. A couple miles later, I spotted an old guy with a camera through the trees. I knew my Dad had come to see me. 🙂 I was so happy I started crying again, which lead to another asthma attack. Once I was able to breath again, I felt so focused and ready to finish. I created a cheesy mantra in my head to get me to run. That mantra I will keep to myself, but the difference it made for me to run to the finish knowing someone who loved me was there and wanting to see me finish was huge. Big lesson learned. As much as I run for myself, i need my loved ones to support me or I don’t love to run. I will not forget this one in the future. My parents hid their plans from me because they thought they might get in my way. I didn’t ask them to come because I didn’t want to get in their way. A bunch of wrong thinking and now we all know the truth of it. I need to speak up and so do they! Next time. 😉
And the final thought I will share that played through my head at Cactus Rose this year. “To those who are given much, much is expected….” So often I find myself envying the runners who can have a bad day and no one thinks mean on them for it. When folks lay into “elites” for dropping or making excuses it pisses me off to a royal degree. I do not like being judged as a runner and PERSON by a race. It makes me mad. If I would rather drop then risk (or worsen!) injury, should anyone but the owner of this running body that is mine have right to an opinion?  If I want to half@$$ a race and just chill to the finish line, laughing with others and spending time with friends along the way, why can’t I? (Oh, I have! Ultrasighup is proof)…  Yet I am the one who wants to push my limits and do more. I want to race so hard I fall over in the end. I want to push passed emotional and mental limits and meet my physical limits, at least once in this life. And I will do this. This I know. Because, “To those who are given much, much is expected”.