Why I’m okay with Dropping out of my Last Ultra…but why I cannot afford to do this again
This past weekend i embarked on my toughest challenge to date: an ultra marathon in British Columbia, called the FatDog 120 Mile Race. This race is known as 1 of the 9 toughest ultra marathons in North America, a true mental and physical challenge for any human.
Going into the race i was excited about the opportunity. I was excited to see unique views, dig into a new form of suffering, and keep moving forward, learning new things about myself along the way. This however didn’t go quite as planned. Early on in the race about 3 hrs in, i found myself not enjoying the event or the process as much as a thought i would. In actuality i was completely disconnected from the moment, purely focused on the end.
Maybe i convinced myself that the fulfillment gained from every step forward would be the only saving grace i needed. This was not the case. I found myself at a loss for enjoyment with what i was having the opportunity to do. As i made my way through the night, about 18 hours into the race, i found myself asking myself more and more questions like, “why am i doing this if i’m not having any fun? Can my energy be better spent somewhere else this race? What am i trying to prove, 48 hrs is a crazy amount of time?” I realized that every hour that passed, my fulfillment wasn’t growing. I was resenting the process. I was resenting the heal pain i entered with. And i became rather content with being of service to the other runners i came with. For the first time ever i was okay with dropping out, even though i wasn’t hurt. It was purely an, “i’m not having any fun with this moment, so why not put my energy towards the racers i came with, that are engaged.”
With that being said, quitting is never a good move. It’s a gate way decision to quitting other things in life, things that will dictate which state you live in. And once you start quitting, it becomes very difficult to stop, as rationalizations and excuses are too easy to find. Even though my decision was full of contentment, my “i wasn’t having fun” excuse is still an excuse. Why wasn’t i having fun? What could i have done differently? What needed to change to prevent that feeling from coming up in the first place?”
Even though i’m truly content with my decision, and know it’s not an indication of who i am, i understand how people may not understand my decision. But i’m also incredibly aware that the next challenges i do, i have to complete. I have to take the time to logistically break down what i am getting myself into, and be present with the task at hand and without exception, finish whatever i start. This will be the true indication of whether i’m the person i say i am.
This race taught me an invaluable lesson, do your research both Internally and extrinsically; Think about the best way to approach a challenge. How can you go into a challenge with a mindset that will leave you with no other choice but to push through in your darkest hour? Because, “i’m not having fun with any of this” isn’t a valid excuse.
I failed to prepare my mind. I thought my “why” or my ability to suffer would always be my saving grace to complete such an event, but i found out i didn’t have a convincing enough reason to want to finish this race. I didn’t take the time to ask myself what makes this journey truly enjoyable. I was under-prepared mentally, and it allowed me to drop out with contentment. In reality i could have prepared myself to better understand the gravity of the event prior to entering. I could have done a better job researching, planning, and changing my perspective on how to attack such a difficult race. But i didn’t take this time. I underestimated mindfulness and the power and ability to view something in a different light; a light that would have gave me fulfillment throughout each section.
Instead i looked at each mile as 1 more mile out of 123. I don’t recall acknowledging any wins throughout, which is ridiculous not to do. And with that I made the experience rather unfulfilling. That’s my fault. I got lost in my own stubbornness and have to live with being okay with dropping out and have to be okay with realizing this revelation 48 hours after my race, after i had conversations with some wise individuals. Even though i am okay with the decision, i can NEVER use this excuse again. It’s a one off. I’ve used it’s fleeting power. And now i know that mental preparation is just as important as the physical when taking on such an incredible feat of mental and physical test.
I have a responsibility to myself to live up to the person i want to be; to be my own superhero. Superheros fail, but they learn from where they went wrong. They rectify the issue at hand, and come back stronger, more self-ware, and better able to take on bigger, stronger challenges than before.
I am incredibly grateful for the conversations i had after my race, as my viewpoint shifted. I discovered where i truly failed. It wasn’t that i failed in the moment, i failed before the race had begun. And with that i feel a new sense of appreciation and freedom to have the opportunity to do more, and with a much stronger mind, body and soul.