I had a hard time coming up with a way to write out my experience at the Run Rabbit this year. Initially I had a novel of a race report with every detail about the race, from the week before to every moment throughout my 26 hours on the course. I had a hell of a day but there’s no point in describing every detail about each step and why I think it happened that way. So I erased all of it and started over.
Run Rabbit was a big failure from a performance perspective, but failure is not a negative thing in my opinion. Failure teaches you a lot if you look at it from a positive light, and it’s unfortunate that people associate it with such negative feelings. Of course I had high hopes for this race, but there were several variables that contributed to it being a bad day. The primary issue was that I felt like I was on my death bed the week before and yet I still wanted to be able to be competitive. My optimism is a good thing in most cases, but sometimes I need to be more realistic. I had gotten sick from having some very “stressful” weeks leading up to the race. It was all very positive stress, but it was still stress. I started August out by committing to being a full-time coach and athlete, winning the TransRockies Run with my speedy partner, Keely, pacing and crewing my girl, Clare Gallagher, at the Leadville 100 and then going to Chamonix to crew my friend and teammate, Zach Miller. All of those experiences were well worth it and I wouldn’t change any of them. But the matter of fact is that it was too much in a small amount of time if I’m expecting to win a hard 100 miler 2 weeks later.
About 30 minutes into Run Rabbit I realized it was going to be a long day. My legs were heavy, I was abnormally fatigued and my heart rate just wouldn’t go down. It didn’t take long for it to become a “just finish” kind of day. I came to terms with it fairly quickly, especially once my friend, Zac Marion, and I decided to finish it together. We had been leap frogging for most of the early stages of the race. We came to an aid station together realizing we were both feeling terrible and that’s when we decided to help each other through it.
Zac and I “ran” 80+ miles of the course together and although it was a long day it was one of the best I’ve had on the trails. With the exception of a few low moments, I actually enjoyed being out there. My mind was completely off of winning, placing or getting any sort of prize money. It reminded me of when I first started running and had no clue what I was doing. I was always relaxed because I didn’t have any sort of expectations. I’m naturally a competitive person so I really enjoy that aspect, but sometimes that becomes too much of the focus and the joy is lost.
The joy is why any of us start running in the first place and we can’t let that become secondary. My high school coach told me to never let running feel like a job. He’s made a big impact in my life and I respect his advice, so I really strive to always find the joy in it. So yes, I failed to achieve the goals I had for this race, but I enjoyed it and came out of it a better, stronger runner. It's okay to fail. Just make sure to learn from your failures and move on.
“Struggling and suffering are the essence of a life worth living. If you’re not pushing yourself beyond the comfort-zone, if you’re not demanding more from yourself - expanding and learning as you go - you’re choosing a numb existence. You’re denying yourself an extraordinary trip.” – Dean Karnazes