Friday, June 24, 2011

Mental games

In the last few days, I've spent a lot of time flashing back to the race, to the last fateful hours where my will to finish were finally overwhelmed by the humidity, frustration and fear of the coming suffering. The point of all that thinking is obviously to answer the question: could I have finished?

It's a difficult question to answer. I remember thinking how thrashed I was after 50 miles. I couldn't believe I was only halfway. In contrast, last year at Haliburton I was relatively fresh after that distance. I certainly didn't feel defeated. This time around, after two loops and 54 miles, I wanted my suffering to be over. I've rarely wanted something so bad in my life. On the other hand, I couldn't believe what a cup of soup and a change of clothes were able to accomplish. I was tired but ready to finish.

I can't remember what happened, what made me decide to quit. I know that it became mathematically impossible to finish and that's why I quit, but why did I let it happen? Why didn't I tell My running partner that I needed to go? He would have understood.

If I let my mind wander a bit, I always end up in that forest, with my headlamp illuminating the trail. I remember thinking that I was scared to go on. By that time, I had never sweated so much in my life. I was wondering how I could go on in that oppressing humidity.

The 100 mile race is a mental race. Sometimes, one is tested, like we were tested last weekend. We thought we knew what we were doing. For some of us, our inexperience showed. In my case, I had a purely mental breakdown and let my mind take me to an emotional state where it became impossible to finish. I know I'm babbling, but that's how it's been all week inside my head.

Thank God for Burning River in 5 weeks! I need redemption so bad I can taste it and I rally don't feel like waiting until the Fall. I'm going to spend the next 3 weeks in Arizona, running in the desert looking inside myself, trying to understand why this is so important to me when nobody else really cares.


Derrick said...

Very early season heat and humidity is really tough to deal with, and especially on a tough course. Great that you have Burning River lined up in 5 weeks. Guaranteed to have a great race there. Recover well!

Sara Montgomery said...

Interesting thoughts, JD. Sorry you're struggling and I hope you find your answers that satisfy you.

I look at the photo at the top of your blog of you in Alaska, in your element at, what, -20, -30 in February at the end of our winter when you're fully acclimatized. Dealing with the other extreme of heat and humidity (the harder extreme if you ask me) in June, when we haven't even remotely adapted..... ugh. Add the lack of food situation... too much.

I know it feels like a failure to DNF, but I hope you find some peace in what you did do, which was a lot, and under brutal conditions.

chris mcpeake said...

Yeah it haunts me that I didnt at least keep going until daylight which would have given me more solid idea on the cutoff times.
I think we both learned a lot on this run. I know the experience will make me a stronger runner in the end.

Also yes you could have cut loose from me at anytime with on worries at all. ( I just would have caught you later .. LOL).

Bring on burning river.

BTW I spent tuesday looking for a 100 to run sooner the BR but didnt find anything close enough that wouldnt break the bank (such a moron).

mi55ter said...

Not true, JD, us blog readers do care about you races and are behind you all the way! Regroup, and go get 'em at BR.

42at42 said...

Hey JD, you are doing great things. You hit a big speed bump, but you will get over it.

I hit a major speed bump over the past few years. I am trying to get over it. I am trying to start blogging again to get me back on track.

The last running I did was when I seen you at Sulfur Springs. It was my favourite race.

I will set that as a goal to shoot for.

I'll be talking to you soon.