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.)
THE REGRET IS KILLING ME.
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.