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Hi, I'm Whitney! I am a middle of the pack runner who discovered the fun of triathlons in 2009. Join me in my adventures in life and training. I run with the Rush Running team and enjoy the fun that comes with such a supportive group of friends who understand what running means to me. I'm newly discovering road biking and the fun that it entails.

Monday, August 20, 2012

What to say when a race doesn't go as planned?

I'm sure we have all had a race or event combust on us and not go as we had planned for it.  This weekend my friend and running coach Mike Rush began the Leadville 100 mile trail race.  Unfortunately, he ran into some stomach distress and had to pull out of the race at mile 75. 

This race has been the focus of all of his training for months.  He has been dedicated to the race and the distance with several training trips to Colorado at altitude.  He did overnight runs including one where a goat raced him for 2 miles.  My heart was broken to hear that he had to drop out of the race and it made me think what do you say in this situation. 
Photo: Taken about 50 minutes ago. Apparently taking in a lot of water is one of the many things they're doing to help this young man's stomach feel a little better....
After 70+ miles with an uncooperative stomach.  
I am so proud of him for having the courage to do this race.  Leadville is notoriously tough...a statistic I heard is a completion rate of less than 50%.  It's tough with a lot of elevation gain and steep climbs.  I know how devastating and tough the decision had to be to pull out but it sounds like he wasn't able to hold any nutrition with stomach distress and that was impacting his ability to regulate his body temperature.  Not a good combination at altitude in Colorado at night. 

The only comparison to my race history that I could think of was back in 2010 I decided to work on my half marathon time and my goal race was the Route 66 Half Marathon.  I had done lots of half marathons but had really never had a time breakthrough.  I made a commitment to my training and added longer runs during the middle of the week.  I felt really strong and had long runs at PR paces.  It was great and I should have been able to execute a great race except I choked.  I got overwhelmed on race day with conditions that weren't as ideal as I wanted them to be and my confidence crumbled.  It was awful telling people how badly I did compared to the time I was gunning for.  I experienced so many emotions and knew that I had let myself down.  Luckily I was able to find another half marathon within the month and I was able to execute the race plan that my training told me I was capable of.  It was great to show myself that I could hold my focus for the race and maintain a positive mental conversation with myself during the whole race. 

I know this situation isn't the same since I didn't have a physical injury or limitation that kept me from my goal in the first race.  Mike's situation is different since his body wouldn't cooperate with his mind. I really have no clue what is the right thing to say...all I can think of the saying below...some dreams are so big that it takes a few tries before you succeed.  Running for 75 miles is an impressive feat especially when you look at the elevation profile.  That's a distance that very few can say they have had the courage to shoot for. 

I can't wait to follow Mike's progress as he tackles his next ultra challenge.  He is a pain in the butt as a coach but I wouldn't trade him in for anyone.  He cares for each and every runner and treats our goals as if they are his own which is why it is no surprise that all of the status updates on his progress were accompanied by 100+ comments with words of encouragement. 

We're all rooting for you Mike and can't wait to cheer you on for your next ultra!!!!

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