First 100 Miler, First DNF, Lesson Learned

Would I rather be writing a race report explaining the thrill of getting my first 100 miler buckle? Of course! Just isn’t in the cards.  So today I come to you with a tale of defeat and lessons learned….

So let’s readers digest the race: Beast of Burden 100 miler.  Chose it due to lack of hills, which I knew would be mundane to me.  I love hills.  They keep me in check.  After 25 miles I had to DNF.  My first official DNF.  It was and is more heart breaking than ever imagined, yet seems a little necessary.  Ultimately… It has made my resolve stronger, but we will get to that.

What happened? My knee happened.  My right knee to be exact.  The same one that has proven to be problem worthy for many years.  Around mile 24 it just gave out.  I knew my race was over.  Even had visions of never running again.  After being seen by a sports doctor, physical therapist, physicians assistant, getting x-rays, and an mri…. turns out my running career will remain ongoing.  No fractures… yippie!  No rips or tears… woohoo!  Just not enough rest… uh oh.

That’s right… rookie mistake.  It’s all on me.  Totally my fault.  Did I need to learn this lesson on the 100 miler stage? No, but it happened all the same.  You see… two weeks before the Beast of Burden, I ran 62 miles (the furthest I’ve ever ran).  In just under two days after I ran 20 miles.  Too much, too soon.  Some people could have done that with no problems what so ever.  I, however, had been training like an animal and should have known better…. especially with a knee that is prone to giving me problems.  Lesson learned.  Some times learning the hard way is the only way for it to really sink in.  At least I was smart enough to drop out when I did and can run another day.  It is my therapy…. I need it.  Fellow runners would understand, while non runners roll their eyes.  Everyone has their outlet…. running is mine.  Separating mind and body is a big deal.  My mind always tells me I’m good to run.  Doesn’t make it right.  So again, lesson learned.

Everyone knew how important this goal is to me, to complete a 100 miler.  They all blindly supported me.  I felt the love.  Even after having to drop out, I still felt the love.  Lots of people sent me uplifting messages, which I appreciate.  However, I think some were too “puffy cloud and rainbows”.  It wasn’t that they weren’t welcomed…. just that my brain isn’t wired that way.  Enter Bryan Lamb, a fellow Orange Mud Am-badass-ador.  Bryan is a triathlete machine who in my opinion has two voices… complete sarcasm and blunt truth.  Both welcomed, because that is exactly how my brain is wired.  Here is what he told me:

Kevin – It’s absolutely a failure. Realize that. You had a goal, you didn’t meet it. That’s the definition of failure. However, you’re looking at it like a negative thing – and it absolutely isn’t. Our entire lives are up of failures and successes. They both define who we are (and who we will become) just as equally as one another. Use this failure as a building block to a greater success, it’s how you become stronger and it’s something you’ve done thousands upon thousands of times before. There’s nothing negative to it and you’ll be thankful for this moment when you crush your next 100.

Most people might have read that and got upset and defensive.  I didn’t.  Why?… Because he is right! I failed…. plain and simple.  Just cause I failed doesn’t mean I am out of the game though.  I am coming out of this upset a stronger person.  My resolve has been strengthened.  In fact, I’ve taken the doctor recommended time off.  Tomorrow I am hitting the trails for a test run.  My head is back in the game.  I’ve mapped out the road to my next 100 miler.  More importantly, I’ve learned a lesson.  The love of the run is stronger than it ever has been…. and I am overwhelmingly thankful for that.

Remember: everyone loves a good comeback story.

Remember: everyone loves a good comeback story.

Relentless. Forward. Progress.