Health & Fitness.

Complicated Dualities.

I can’t wait to write and tell you all about Chelsea and Colleen and how life-changing it was to watch them complete their 100 miles. But I don’t want to taint my admiration for them with my whining so today? YOU JUST GET MY WHINING! Feel free to just skip this entry and come back tomorrow to read about my fierce friends.

I didn’t get 100 miles.

It’s a weird thing though, because I got in 80 and that’s 12 more than I’ve ever done before so I’m super proud of that. But – I didn’t get my 100 and I’m profoundly embarrassed and disappointed. So disappointed I wouldn’t even let myself get the participation trophy because almost everyone else at that race got 100 miles, some got 200, I couldn’t not even bring myself to get a trophy for 80. This photo is a good visual as to why it was hard for me to get my trophy. I checked the screen after every mile towards the end to make sure it was counting and I crossed that time with the two guys who ended up setting a record with 210 miles each.

They started 3 hours ahead of me because they were 51 but had done 120 more. WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK?

But I am proud. I really am.

It’s just a really weird duality. I have to keep reminding myself that I’m proud. And I really am. I mustered up the power to run a little bit of the final 3 miles and I was really proud of that considering how nauseated I was and how blistered my feet were, but the goal I had settled on was 80 miles and when I finally got across the finish line at 80, I was reminding myself to be proud as I turned in my ankle bracelet and another runner ran past and said, “You still have time for more!”

And I lost it. I started sobbing like I have never sobbed before. But, I was trying to do it quietly and discreetly because I was so embarrassed and ashamed. There were 70-year old women who ran more than 100 miles, my two friends knocked out 100 in beautiful and magnificent shows of strength, and here I was crying at 80. I felt so stupid and pitiful. And I was trying to be proud, BECAUSE I WAS, I REALLY WAS, but I was also so embarrassed and disappointed and ashamed and let me just tell you: THAT IS A LOT TO BE FEELING ON MINIMAL SLEEP, AN UPSET STOMACH, AND BLISTERED FEET.

I could not stop crying behind my sunglasses. Luckily, Nikki had started packing up our camping stuff (she gets a whole entry to herself too, you all are going to DIE when you hear about how amazing she was as my crew) so I was able to help a little to hide my crying because I just could not stop. I had worked so hard to try to feel pride in my 80 miles and then to have someone point out I could have done 2 more, and she was right but OH MY GOD I DID NOT WANT TO. So – I had just grasped on to a small thread of pride, then to have shame rip it out of my hands again.

80 miles is a lot. But everyone around me pushed past more to get more miles and it’s going to take me a long time to unpack all of those feelings. I’m proud I pushed it to 80, I wanted to stop at 70. Hell, I wanted to stop at 62 when I finally realized I couldn’t keep up with Chelsea anymore. My heart broke in those miles and so I definitely am proud of myself for pushing past that and the physical ailments to get to 80.

But f*ck y’all, as I was typing that sentence I was EQUALLY feeling shame because I SHOULD NOT BE PROUD. I FAILED.

It’s a battle in my heart that will wage for several days, I’m sure. Maybe longer. I’m certain pride wins out in the end, I’ve never been one to regret or linger on failures. I’ve had too many in my life to start lingering on them now. And the part of me that is proud of the 80 miles (especially considering how shitty my training was) is stubborn and will keep talking the shame and disappointment down until hopefully it stops popping up entirely.

But for now – I feel both very clearly. Pride an Disappointment. Pride and Shame. Pride and a shit ton of pain because everything hurts.

15 thoughts on “Complicated Dualities.”

  1. 80 miles is an amazing feat! Don’t let your disappointment take control. It was 80 miles more than most of us ran this weekend.

    I am also giggling at what Kim from a few years ago would think if she read this!

  2. OMG! You amaze me! I can do 15k/10 miles pretty good (slow, but strong for me). However, when I do that last 3 for a half marathon, I die. I’m sorry that you felt bad about the 80 and that you didn’t get to the 100, but I would have probably stopped at 10 and taken a 5 hour nap. You ran 80 miles! Wow!

  3. Guess what? You are NORMAL. Everything you said is completely normal. BUT…. You are also AMAZING, because so very few people know themselves so well that they can even articulate that duality of feeling, especially with as much clarity and eloquence as you did. I am so glad you realize that pride in your accomplishment is going to win out over the disappointment and shame of not making your goal (this time… I know it is coming!!). Give yourself plenty of time to heal, with lots of nonfood rewards (let’s keep that shame spiral far away), and focus on all those good things you’re going to post about after your well-deserved rest.

    And to quote my favorite character from Finding Nemo: “You so totally rock!”

  4. This post made me cry. Please do not feel like a failure. Mercy, you didn’t get 100 but you accomplished something new for you. If I could give you a gigantic hug right now, I so would. I am very proud of you and what you did. You’ve faced so many challenges this year and in spite of it all, you keep moving in a forward direction. Yes, sometimes you have to stop and rest and recover but then, once you can, you start moving again. Congratulations on an AMAZING accomplishment!!!

  5. I am proud of you and for you.

    I WALKED ten miles yesterday and I’m exhausted. You did your best and I can only imagine what your feet look and feel like.

  6. You are every bit a rock star and tougher than most of us! Don’t beat yourself up too much…the fact is that what you are feeling is completely normal … just give it time to “percolate” and you will sort it all out


  7. I think I would feel the same way if this had happened to me. I saw your feet and I’m amazed that you could push through to 80 miles. I think I couldn’t have done that if I had blisters like you did! How many miles did you do in your slides? I was very lucky to have no real issues in the race and that made a huge difference for me. There were still a lot of people on the results list with fewer miles than you, and if you look at the guide they gave us, many of those 70 year olds had some really fast PRs from their younger days! I understand too about how it felt to not be able to keep up with Chelsea. That happened to me Saturday night. I was lucky that my problem was easy to fix with a nap, unlike blisters, which have no quick fix. You are amazing and 80 miles is an awesome accomplishment!

  8. Thanks for sharing your feelings, Kim. I’ve definitely had my share of dissappointments, but I’ve never gone 80 miles on blistered feet. We gotta figure out your feet situation so that you can prevent that shit!

  9. You ran 80 freaking miles! That is an awesome accomplishment. The words shame and embarrassment do not exist in the ultra running world. Dissapointment, sure , its all over the place Probably a lot of people didn’t reach their goals.The response to you can do more is , nah, I’m done. Smart ultra runners know when they need to quit, and you ran 20 miles beyond that. I think you getting back out there for your friends is super. Contact Laz, offer to pay postage and get that trophy. You earned it. We have driven back from Atlanta in the middle of the night because my husband decided to bag it this time, and I found my way home from the 20 mile mark of SJ40 once. Those vets you admired, They all have tales to tell. Tales of the great races, and tales of those times where they didn’t finish for some reason or another. Then there are some that just tell tales!! You were in pain. Blisters hurt- a lot, and they slow you down. Just be sure to baby those feet and be sure they don’t get infected. You are a superwoman!

  10. All the things that all the others said…. and also, we love you! You are a treasure- let our pride in you, for this, and all your other accomplishments (and for just being Y.O.U.) carry you while you process emotionally and mentally. We’ll be here – for now and for the next one.

  11. You made an amazing accomplishment – EIGHTY MILES! I’ve never even walked more than 10 miles at one time.

  12. A 6 year old taught me once that this is called “double dipping”—-two opposing emotions simultaneously.
    It’s normal.
    According to the 6 year olds therapist I would presume 🙂

  13. You’ve got to stop beating yourself up. You’ve done something amazing and you’re not able to celebrate that because you’re too busy punishing yourself for what you didn’t do. I’m blown away by your accomplishment. I have COPD and my stamina is so bad that I have hard time walking to the bathroom much less other things and I think what you did is out of this world. Cut yourself some slack girl and love your body for what it does do not for what it doesn’t.

  14. I’ve been sitting with this all day and I don’t know if a second post will add any enlightenment, but here goes: One of my worst, worst races has ended up being one of my best stories. Everything went wrong, mainly because I failed to adequately train for a Half. However, I’m proud that I completed the race. I wasn’t proud that first day, first week, or even first month afterwards, but now I am proud of it. You will be proud of your 80. It may take some time and distance to get there, but it will be one of your badges of honor. Don’t beat yourself up too much about it. Also, be proud that you knew your body enough to stop.

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