Our new thing to preach is ‘finding your why.’ This year we’ve been learning to address the underlying purpose behind every decision, goal, or task. So why care about your why? Well, this past weekend I had the opportunity to put what we preach into practice. I determined my WHY, acknowledged the situation, stayed present, and didn’t fight it. And it felt pretty awesome.
I’m a fighter, and think I can mentally persevere through anything. This characteristic allows me to accomplish some pretty awesome challenges. However, it can also hinder the ability to be present and live a life of acceptance. (Go with the flow? Oh, yeah. I’ll be right there). I am learning to accept moments, situations, emotions, circumstances, people, and life in general. Not everything needs to be a struggle. And if it feels like a struggle, determine the WHY, and decide whether you want to persevere, or say no and surrender.
They say when your legs get tired, run with your heart. But what if your legs feel strong as hec? Are we supposed to still run with our heart? These questions were going through my mind all Saturday morning while running a race in Oregon. As usual, I did not feel warmed up until 5-6 hours into the race. My heart felt tight all morning and I could not get enough oxygen in. Although I was doing what I love, with people I love, and comfortable being uncomfortable, something felt wrong. My heart was physically and emotionally speaking to me. So I decided to listen. I determined my why, and my decision to not continue was incredibly easy and liberating. Ironically, I made this decision shortly after I began to warm up and get into my running groove.
Aid station volunteers were confused as I happily stated “I’m done. I feel great, but I’m done.” I received the usual aid station pep talks - but I my situation did not apply to their nurturing advice. It was entertaining in my head. Then I felt like I was beginning to understand acceptance and how to apply that to life. It’s a wonderful feeling - listening to your heart and accepting the present. I did not feel like a quitter, I felt like a winner. "It'll always be 'quinning' when you feel good about it."
My mother asked me, “Are you disappointed you didn’t continue?” I chuckled because I was confident with my WHY, that there was not an ounce of disappointment inside of me. Just gratitude. I replied, “No. If I wanted to continue I would have. So how can I be disappointed?” Perhaps if there was a variable out of my control during the race, I would have been disappointed. But I had the opportunity to take full accountability and responsibility for the situation, and feel relieved and grateful to have experienced that decision making process. I’ve also had four months of horrible running, and I’m not entirely sure why yet. I remembered I did not have my WHY for this race, since the registration. I GZFs while accumulating high mileage throughout the winter and even as I could not catch my breath during the race. I was looking for fucks to give, and couldn't find any. I was confident in the fact I had nothing to prove to myself or anyone else. I accomplished my WHY on Saturday, and stopped after that. Also, I did not want this past weekend to be a trigger for taking months off.
It’s not easy saying no to something you love. Like any bad relationship, knowing when to walk away and having the courage to do so is important for growth and development. (Easier said than done). We have also learned recently, that energy is finite. I personally believe that us ultra runners need to be cautious about the energy we expend and preserve (more on that later…) So, when the struggle (decision making or physical struggle) gets real - ask yourself: What is my WHY?
This is not a race report, nor an excuse about the variabilities that occur in ultras, but an example of how I applied my WHY to a particular situation this past weekend.
- see the entire course
- run through waterfalls and understanding the difference between running and chasing
- spend time with my unicorns, see them kicking ass, and support their accomplishments
- not hate running
- have an amazing weekend with my favourite inspirational people
- drink beer
- run with glitter
- see the little 'swoosh' that could! (Arielle flew in to join us for the road trip and race)
- * I accomplished all of the above, so it was more than a successful weekend
NOT my WHY
- chasing waterfalls (the song makes sense now)
- to hate running after pushing through an event that did not matter in the big picture
- fight through a situation that would take my body a few weeks to recover
- test my mental toughness this early in the season
- finding fucks to give
#unicornFTQ #quinning #teamunicorn