I have scrapped my plans to try to earn a 100-miler belt buckle.
If there was anything that I was gunning for in 2016 it was to try to complete my first hundie and earn a ballot into the Western States Endurance Run lottery. But even having percolated this plan for about 12 months now, I've now decided that it's just not for me. For now, at least.
The race that I was eyeballing was the Run Woodstock Hallucination 100 miler in September. As a Michigan-based event, it would have been simple enough to stay with some friends in Windsor, Ontario and hop the border for to compete, thereby saving myself a few $$$ in accommodation costs. Plus the placement on the calendar made this a palatable option with plenty of time to get my training in.
With so many friends who are not only embracing the trail ultra challenge (e.g. Keith completing his first WSER, Bill who ran as part of Team Asics in the Beat The Sun race, Joy, Lindsey and Becky who prevailed over the mud at the Limberlost Challenge and and Mike, Rob, Robert and Crystal who crushed it this past weekend at The North Face Endurance Challenge Series event at Blue Mountain) it would be straightforward enough to ride the coattails of their energy and discipline. But after taking a hard look at why and what I'm running these days, I've come to understand that entering to run a 100-miler wouldn't be about
reaching my goals
testing my limits
experiencing a new level of being alive.
Right now, it would be about proving myself to everyone else.
There's a big part of me that hates the fact that I'm driven by comparison. I know that deep down I've never felt good enough, worthy enough, talented enough, smart enough, accomplished enough. On the one hand it's helped me to try to push forward and explore so many different avenues and activities in my lifetime ... but it's also proven (at least in my case) that the old adage of 'jack of all trades, master of none' can be true.
So right now I think that I've decided that I'm tired of trying to earn another medal or cross another finish line so that others might respect me. I've often told myself that it doesn't really matter to me what other people think, and that I've just got to be true to me. Sadly, that's easier said than done, and too often the kind of monitoring of others' opinions that takes place gets deeply embedded in the psyche and you just can't quite tune it out or turn it off.
Whatever I am - chicken, poser, delusional, hypocrite, failure - I'll not be a 100-mile finisher this year.
And you know what, I think that I'm going to be ok with that.