"If you see failure as a monster stalking you, or one that has already ruined your life, take another look. That monster can become a benevolent teacher, opening your mind to successes you cannot now imagine." -Martha Beck
Life has moved on after Bandera. My knee seems to have recovered well and I've managed a handful of 10 mile runs without any pain. I'm now trying to ramp my miles up a bit for a week or two before the Red Hot 55k in Moab next month.
It has been funny processing through my Bandera experience. In 2010, when I ran Boston and had a lackluster day, I was left with a frustration about how it turned out. Yes, I finished the marathon, but fell way short of the goal I had set for the day. After the race, whenever I looked at my Boston shirt or jacket, I wanted nothing to do with it. I had this odd feeling that I didn't deserve to wear them. All things Boston just reminded me of that failure and missed opportunity.
I assumed I'd have similar feelings about Bandera after having to drop. But a funny thing has happened. Whenever I see my bib, race sweatshirt, or buckle from last year, a fire is kindled within. My DNF has ignited something that is burning strong. And I know it wasn't there pre-DNF.
I recently taped my Bandera bib to my bathroom mirror, so I see it before most training runs. Why? Well, there are several things I want to be reminded of each day:
- Never take for granted the opportunity to run. One slip can end it all, or at least impact my ability to continue running well.
- Don't assume I'm going to run well or finish a race just because I did the year before.
- Remember the feeling of having to tell myself (and others) why I quit. Yes, I know I thought I was making a nagging injury worse during the race. After Bandera, it took no time at all to get tired of hearing myself spout out excuses when asked about it. I know now more than ever, how much easier it is to say, "I finished."
- I need to be tougher. I need to exhibit more Grit. I need to squash that voice inside that says I can't do it. It speaks out during most ultras and I need to have the determination to ignore it. I didn't have it that day in Bandera and the bib reminds me of that.
The DNF at Bandera has been a huge positive for me. While I hope it never happens again, I feel more focused & humbled, and I know this will prepare me to run a smart race in Moab and beyond.