Health & Fitness.

Help Me With My Regret By Avoiding Your Own.


Will you do me a favor today? Go sign up for a race you aren’t sure you can even do. I mean, don’t choose one that’s tomorrow. Choose one the appropriate distance of time away to prepare. And just DO IT. For me. Sign up for it. Plan. And train. NOW! DO IT! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Your first 5K? Your first half-marathon? Your first marathon? DO IT. I’ve shown you that if I can do it, anyone can, so you have no excuses. GO! NOW!

Oh. So you want to know why? Here you go.

I am not one for regret. I’ve made a lot of giant mistakes in my life. GIANT. Some that I still feel the ripples of periodically. But I don’t really regret them in the strict definition of the word. Because, even the next day, I could still always see a future where the mistakes lead me to better places.

But y’all…these last few weeks and especially this week? I’m making myself sick with regret. SICK. I’m not sleeping well, I’m stress-eating, I’m emotional and anxious…all because of regret.

And do you know what I regret? That I’m not doing a local race on Saturday.

Here’s the story. The “toughest” local race we have is a 50K trail run called Mountain Mist. I first heard of it in 2011. I had started making friends in the running community so I knew some of the people participating that year and I looked at the pictures and read the stories and thought…No. Way. In. Hell.

It’s a very tough 50K. Over the next 2 years I learned more about the course. I listened to people explain the time cutoffs and the difficulty and how to kinda of compare it to other local races. Last year, when I was actually doing 50Ks, I didn’t even consider signing up because, based on my other local race times, I wouldn’t make the cutoffs. One comparison in particular is a 25K and it took me ALMOST five hours and someone once told me a good rough estimate for your Mountain Mist 50K time would be to double that 25K time because of the similarly difficult trails. Well, that would make my Mountain Mist time 9+ hours and the cutoffs are all for an 8 hour finish.

So! No way in HELL I was signing up last year. And then, I did that other 50K in November last year and it took me almost 8 hours. And it’s WAAAAY easier. Several people told me to make the Mountain Mist 50K cutoff you probably need to be able to do that other one in 7 hours. Which I didn’t do. PLUS, my marathon time was over 5 hours and the qualifying marathon time was 4:40.

Basically, on paper I wouldn’t make any of the cutoffs. And while they still might let me register because they know me and know I know the trails (they don’t let out-of-towners register without meeting certain criteria) but I knew, mathematically, I wouldn’t make the cutoffs. So, why bother.

It didn’t phase me much last year at race time because I hadn’t done those races in enough time to have successfully completed the 50K. So, I had no regrets regarding Mountain Mist 2013 because my 50Ks the months prior were too slow to indicate I could have been successful. But this year? This year has been a whole other story.

They opened registration in October. BEFORE this year’s set of 50Ks. So, I only had last year’s times to go by. And I really didn’t feel like I had gotten that much faster. So, I didn’t register. And it filled up in, like a day. Then? I did that first 50K in under 7 hours. Then I did my marathon in under 4:40. Then I did that NEXT 50K in 6:18. Basically? I probably (almost definitely) could have made the cutoffs.

BUT I DIDN’T REGISTER. Because I didn’t believe it was possible.

Several people have been AMAZED that I really doubted myself so much. Most of my closest running buddies and mentors were just shocked that I wasn’t doing it. Especially when AFTER the fact they announced the re-birth of the Grand Slam which is a prize given to people who do the three local 50Ks plus the marathon. I did everything but the last 50K. And it was too late to get into the race.

So – this whole week? I’ve been rolling in regret. I don’t always realize that’s what’s bringing me down…but the proof is in my dreams. Every night this week I’ve angrily dreamed about that stupid race. And many variations of maybe being able to do it – but mostly they are nightmares about getting hurt NEXT year. About NOT being able to do it NEXT year for whatever reason. Meaning THIS year I missed my ONLY CHANCE.

Because now? That’s my fear. What if all of the success I’ve made this year, getting so much faster, falls apart next year? What if in one of the 3 previous races I hurt myself? You have to trust an injury-free September thru January. Do you know how hard it is to trust that? Do you know how many miles you run training for 3 50Ks and one marathon? Your chances of injury are HUGE. I made it through this season injury free, what if that’s my luck? What if that’s my last chance? WHAT IF I MISSED MY ONLY CHANCE TO DO MOUNTAIN MIST EVER?

And I’m not sleeping at all. If someone came up to me today and said: “You can run it. Be there at 7:30am ready for a 50K. We’re going to let you do it.” It would be ON like DONKEY KONG. Because this week? Has been AWFUL. I have been HATING myself all week for not gearing up to finalize my grand slam on Saturday. SO MAD AT MYSELF.

I’m trying to make myself feel better in two different ways.

First? When they opened registration? I didn’t have the credentials to believe I could have done it. I barely did the Dizzy 50K in under 8 hours. I couldn’t do a marathon in under 5. There’s NO WAY my math lined up to meet their cut offs. NO WAY.

(But then regretful me says: You could have TRAINED to get faster, Kim. You had PLENTY of time. You just didn’t believe in yourself.)

Second? Now I’ll do it in 2015. That’s the year I turn 40. That’s a GREAT way to start the year I turn 40. With a race I’ve been terrified of for years. I’ll start off that year with a BANG! Do my first Mountain Mist. Get my first Grand Slam jacket. All the year I turn 40. You can’t beat that with a STICK. That’s the way I should have been planning it all along! 2015 will me the year KIM KICKS ALL THE ASS.

(But then regretful me says: You were going to train for your first Olympic Distance Triathlon that year. You already had big stuff that year. Now 2014 is just going to be boring as shit.)


So…take my advice. Learn from my mistake. Trust me that the regret of NOT doing it is SO MUCH WORSE than the regret of trying and failing. Do it. That think you’ve been thinking about doing? DO IT. If you fail? You fail. But the pride of trying MONUMENTALLY outweighs the feeling of failure. Whereas this feeling? The shame of not even trying? The regret? It SUCKS GIANT DONKEY BALLS.

Go. Now. Sign up. Do it. For me.

14 thoughts on “Help Me With My Regret By Avoiding Your Own.”

  1. I had hip replacement surgery (left side) October 25, 2012, and then had the right side replaced October 9, 2013, so I’m still rehabilitating. I’ve never run, but have done distance walking, and have thought of walking another marathon, maybe one at sea level. I’ve had my eyes on one in Maine (grew up there, parents and in-laws still live there, so I’d have a place to stay and could justify the cost of going) for years. So maybe…

    But when I look at the cost of various local events, it seems like they’ve doubled in the past 5 years. $100 and up to participate in a long walk? Why not just go to the mountains for a long hike? I’m not fast, and do not aspire to go fast (too hard on the joints — I want these expensive titanium hips to last).

    I’m sorry you’re having regrets about not registering for a particular race (but honestly, I cannot relate… if it’s an annual event, it will be there next year; if not, there are always other (cheaper, I hope) opportunities to challenge yourself). My challenge right now is to get stronger and more flexible in the groin and thighs, and I know from my experience with the first surgery that it will come, but it will take time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Thank you for this! I actually did sign up a few months ago for the Oak Barrel Half in Lynchburg, TN but I’ve been doubting myself ever since. It will be my first out of town race and it’s super-hilly and I’m a slow runner and blah, blah, blah. I had to sign up early because it fills up within hours, which totally goes against my usual “let’s wait and see how training goes before I commit”.

  3. I signed up for the Nike Women Half Marathon DC lottery but didn’t get a spot. Got an email this week saying I’d earned a second chance spot through my Nike Training Workouts. Registered! This is my dream race in one of my favourite cities. Hadn’t planned on spending the next 13 weeks in training, but here we go…

  4. I’m doing that one!!!!!!!! It’s a GREAT one! You’ll do fine! And the race is so well put on! And the medals are great and you feel like SUCH a badass! I tell everyone it’s a really hard 9-mile run followed by a 4-mile coast to the finish-line. I love races that end downhill!!! You don’t have to worry so much about bonking! You’ll do great!

  5. Yay!!! Maybe we can finally meet in person! I’ve heard such good things about it so that’s what prodded me to finally try it. I just need to step up my hill training ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. The Color Run 5k is coming to town in June. I haven’t exercised in over a year, but this week I started out very slowly with 7 minutes of exercise/movement each morning. It seems impossible that I could be ready for a 5k by June, but who knows? Thanks for the push to at least consider it!

  7. This maybe isn’t quite in the same category as a badass 50K, but I have signed up for my first road race in 5 years. It’s been 5 years because, well, I blame the children. 2 of those years I was pregnant; the rest? Just lack of time, or lack of finding time, with all the extra stuff that’s wedged into your life when you have children. But there’s this 10K that I love. That I’ve run before. That is in our neighborhood, and benefits our neighborhood school, which is now my daughter’s school. I’m on the race committee! So I signed up, and bought my first new pair of running shoes in 2 years. I haven’t run more than 3 miles at a time in 5 years. But I’m going to run 6.2 on May 18. So is my husband. I know I can do it, but I’m still scared of starting all over, of how I’m going to find the time to do some longer runs. I’m just going to do it. Small victories.

  8. Thank you for this post! I’ve been dealing with some strange medical stuff, and will be having surgery in April. I’m the kind of person who needs a finish line to keep myself training and have been thinking about one of the Disney races next year. But I’m waffling so hard. My last race was just a 5k laat March and I haven’t been able to do much since then. And then I need to decide if I should go for the 1/2 or try the back to back 10k/Half challenge.

  9. Last fall I got back into working out and taking my bad eating habits seriously. I have been halfheartedly training for “something” but never signed up. I finally committed a couple of weeks ago to doing my first half this June. I’ve been coming your archives (had first experiences with chafing this week – yikes and LOVE the Honey Stingers) and mentally preparing myself. I’m also going to lotto for the SF Womens Half even though doing TWO half marathons in one year terrifies me because I figure if I just keep up with the training I’ll be okay. Both races have time limits so I’m just hoping to finish before the courses close!

  10. I had foot surgery in September and am still recovering so running is not on the table yet. But, you inspire me and I am doing other non-impact exercises in hopes of finally doing a 5k this year that I turn 40. By the way, I had a dream that I was visiting you and you got mad at me because I couldn’t correctly use your camera. Why you gotta be mad at me in my dream?!

  11. Can you go volunteer at that race this year? You could still participate that way, right? I’m sure they could use another hand in the salted, boiled potatoes and whateverelse. DO IT. GO NOW.

  12. Don’t worry! I did the first day they asked! I’m working early packet pickup and then I’m meeting a friend at the last aid station and running her in. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. i have wanted to do the tough mudder this spring, and started training last fall…. and for the first time stuck with an exercise regimen…then broke my ankle over the holidays, and the day before my cast was to come off…..I broke my wrist (completely, utterly). ugh.

    And then i read this post. And now i am doing the tough mudder this fall on my 40th birthday…and after a post to facebook, am doing so surrounded by friends. thanks for the reminder to not give up, zoot!

  14. We’re volunteering with our (ex) running club in New Orleans for the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon (nee Mardi Gras Marathon) again this year. We’rewaterstop 19 on the out and the back at Harrison and Marconi. This year we’re superheroes. Would love to see you running this one even if it’s not a 50K! I’ve run it before,once only, as marathoning is not the cousin for me. I like the half as a perfect distance – long enough to have really accomplished something but short enough that I’m not DEAD at the end.

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