When You Want To Give Up

Sharpie talks about what it's like to want to give up and how through tenacity anything is… Click To Tweet

We have all been there. The moment when self doubt and fear set in. The instance when you know something is wrong and you should make a different decision. The feeling of defeat, sadness, scared. It may not have been during a race where you have experienced any array of these emotions. For me, two weeks ago during REVEL Mt. Charleston…I felt all of the emotions…and the majority of them weren’t  happy.

If you recall, I mentioned in my London recap (which you should really check out if you haven’t already) that I had been sick for a couple weeks. I figured it was just a cold and things would pass. It turns out it decided to transform into a minor sinus infection. I battled this up until this past Sunday. I had to be in town for a work conference so decided I would sign up for REVEL Mt. Charleston. Of course, I wasn’t sick when I signed up. I decided I would pick up my bib and race packet and make the game day morning decision whether I would race or not. I woke up at 3am Saturday morning and actually felt pretty good. No muscle soreness. Minor runny nose. Mild to no cough. So, I figured I would shower, gear up, and head out. I knew it would likely be cold so I brought my layers to stay warm at the top of the mountain. I figured my body would warm up as I kept moving…I made a lot of assumptions that morning.

I was at the start line, I shed my layers and got ready to “run”. Turns out my body had different plans for the day and those plans did not include running. Within the first half mile I knew my body wasn’t with me. My neck was completely tight. My shoulders were tense. I couldn’t relax and ease into the morning. At this point, I realized I should of stayed in my suite and ordered room service.

The moment when you realize you chose poorly

I slowed down, pulled off to the side of the road and evaluated what was going on. I had the following internal conversations: Ok, I wasn’t well. In fact, starting this race was stupid and you should of stayed your ass in bed. Ok, can’t do anything about that now. Just get to the finish safe.

I had pretty much decided this half marathon was going to be a fun 13.1 mile walk downhill. I was ok with that, the scenery is pretty awesome. At this point, I am grasping for silver lining. So I walked.

Everything hurts and I am dying. But at least the scenery is lovely

Around the 5K mark I knew I was done. The weather was brisk and there were some crazy winds out. Without the speed and increased heart rate to help me stay warm…I was beginning to shake from being cold. I can handle cold. I can handle wind. I can’t handle both at the same time. I especially can’t handle both while sick. Again, I chose poorly. I text my support system and told them I was going to DNF. I was done. I didn’t feel comfortable or even safe. I approached the mile 4 water stop and told the volunteers I needed to stop. They were not equipped to help with a drop out (which wasn’t their fault) so I kept moving forward. Surly another aid station further down the road would be able to help me end this personal hell I am experiencing. 4 miles later.

I am at mile 8 and I encounter the same problem. The water stop is just that a water stop. The wind was crazy and I was frozen at this point. I found shelter in a port-o-potty…for twenty minutes. This was an amazing decision. After that, I walked over to the police who were running traffic control and helping folks get up and down the mountain and explained my problem. I was told to wait by the water station and someone would be by shortly. I sat on the side of the road and began to shake again. The winds were picking up. The temperature wasn’t warm. I was literally having a melt down on the side of the road in the gravel. I stopped my Garmin and never restarted it. Curled up in a ball. I chose poorly.

I DO want to extend my thanks to one of the spectators near that aid station who saw me in crisis and ran to her car and brought me a lovely purple blanket. She told me to stay warm and to keep it. The blanket frankly saved my behind. After 45 minutes of sitting and crying something happened. I got angry.

I was angry with myself that I put myself in a situation like this. I was angry with the fact I was waiting for help and NO ONE EVER CAME. I was angry that 45 minutes had past and I could of been almost finished and off of the course. I stood right up and began walking wrapped in my new fancy blanket. The only thing on my mind was GET FINISHED AND GO BACK TO BED!

I’m smiling and still angry

I walked and walked and walked. I focused on moving forward. I encouraged the runners moving toward their shiny new PRs. I focused on what kind of crazy story this was going to be…if I ever shared it because frankly I was mortified. Fast forward to the finish line. I gathered everything I had and ran across the finish line just shy of four hours…wrapped in my fancy butt saving blanket.

I won’t be beaten

The Point

 

I wanted to share this story for a few reasons. The first isn’t to drag REVEL through the mud. They didn’t do anything wrong. I showed up to a race when I should of stayed in bed and that’s my fault. The point is about realizing what the hell you’re actually made of. I went from uncomfortable, to scared, to melt down, to angry, to victorious. Your body needs rest. Your body needs time to recover. It probably didn’t help that London was just 6 days prior to this race. Whatever.

This is the first race in 5 years that I wanted to quit. I wanted to be done and never run again actually. I was DONE. I want to make a couple points. The first is, it is okay to not show up! It is perfectly fine to say “Ya know, I don’t want to do this” and not show up to a race. Self care is so important. Running and racing is something special. We are fortunate that we are able to do it. We should be enjoying it as much as possible. When we place ourselves into situations that aren’t healthy, bad stuff happens. Case and point *points at myself*. The next point is it is important for me to be transparent. I pride myself in discussing the highs and lows. Having an authentic voice is so important. Many of you come here for motivation and inspiration and I’m here to tell you I struggle and fight just like anyone else. I have bad days. I have melt downs. But I (eventually) get the strength to move forward. I don’t know where I drew the strength from at this race, but it showed up. I did it. I learned about myself. I learned about the kindness of others. And frankly, I wouldn’t change that experience for the world. I am happy it happened.

It is okay to have a bad day. It is okay not to show up. It is okay to practice self care. It is okay to even want to quit. But what is the most important is to stay true to the core and essence of who you are at all times. The only person you have to answer to is you. Go forth and be awesome…and don’t do dumb stuff like me. LOL

Always Earned Never Given

 

6 Comments
  • Bain
    May 10, 2017

    I’m so bummed you were at Revel Mt. Charleston and I missed you! I had a rough race day too. This should have been my PR race, but my legs and lungs were still SOOOOOO beat from the Blue Ridge Marathon the weekend before. I finished with one of my worst times race-wise, but spent the weekend with friends and otherwise had a good time. Sorry to hear you were feeling poorly!

  • Ange // Cowgirl Runs
    May 10, 2017

    “it’s perfectly fine to say”Ya know, I don’t want to do this” and not show up to a race”
    YES! I see many tears over a DNS, and yeah, it’s not awesome, but it’s way better than risking illness or injury. And it’s honestly not an easy choice to make.

    I do also feel like Revel (and any race) should be prepared to deal with those who aren’t able to continue. You know your body well, and after a time, knew you could make it. Not everybody can make an educationed decision about their body. So having blankets and a shuttle is something I hope the evaluate in the future.

    I definitely have a bee in my bonnet when races don’t adequately consider runner safety.

    • Sharp Endurance
      May 10, 2017

      I completely agree with you. I have the contact information for the race director so I will be having an offline conversation about the concerns about safety.

  • Hawaiian Girl
    May 12, 2017

    I hear you Sharpie. I’ve shown up to races feeling great, thinking I’m over an injury or a cold. Then during the race my body shows me otherwise. I have felt the anger at myself, and the meltdown, wanting to quit, etc. We all know that we’re never mad at the race, we’re actually mad at our body. All we can do is live and learn. I hope you feel better Sharpie, and I want to see you back out there and running. *HUGS*

    • Sharp Endurance
      May 24, 2017

      I was definitely mad at myself. I made the choice and had to live with the decision I made. It was painful but a lesson learned for sure. Live to run another day, right?

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