Tuesday, August 22, 2017

NOT Finishing the Leadville 100

Sometimes, life delivers unexpected lessons at unexpected times.

Two weekends ago, I planned on deriving PROFOUND lessons from FINISHING the Leadville 100 Trail Race.

Hope Pass, highest section of the Leadville 100 Trail Race
Instead, I derived HUMBLING lessons from DROPING OUT of the Leadville 100.

I have never dropped from a race.

This Summer, I dropped out of two.

For years I have loved running ultramarathons on hard trails and big mountains, but this past Summer, I found my love for the trails to be waning.

Really waning.

Pounding out 50-mile training weekends this past Summer to prep for the race while working two jobs as a single dad often felt more like an exhausting additional side hustle than a source of renewal.

My performance at the iconic Leadville 100 was no exception.

I ran a great marathon but when my lovely colleague and crew leader checked on me at mile 30 I told her I was DONE and simply wanted to treat her to lunch and take a nap.

And that's what I did.

No regrets.

I tendered my race bib at the Twin Lakes aid the station to drop from the race. The Mayor of Leadville was the guy running the aid station. He asked why I was dropping. I simply told him: "I don't have the love. And you can't go 100 miles without the love." He said it was the most honest answer he had heard for dropping from the race.

I realize a lot of my running colleagues are wincing as they read this.

“Push through”, “gut it out.”

I get it.

And I agree that “pushing through” and “gutting it” out are USUALLY the better choice.


But here is MY takeaway :   in most big endeavors… starting a business, earning a degree, or running a 100-mile race…..no amount of brains, talent, or training will ever, EVER be enough if you don't first and foremost have a compelling “WHY” for what you are doing. Moreover, the “WHY,” especially for big endeavors that are meant to ENRICH your life (like running), often ebb and flow depending on one's mental and emotional bandwidth… ....which is often contingent on where one is at in life commitment wise.  Instead of fighting it (like I attempted to do this past weekend), I say EMBRACE where you are and be thankful.

I wish I had the emotional and mental bandwidth to go 100-miles but have to accept the timing is not right.

Instead, I'm going to take my current bandwidth for running and do something I KNOW will be fulfilling and run more races with my kids, my dad and my non-running friends.

I'll keep running hard trails and big mountains.

And dammit, I WILL do the Leadville 100 Trail Race.


But not today.

I’m going to get some more high altitude trail running before the snow flies.

Hell, I may even run a section or two of the Leadville 100—even Hope Pass.

But after mile 30 or so....

I'm taking a nap.


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