This last weekend I finished the Rocky Raccoon 50 mile trail run. As I prepared to type up my race report I realized it’s been a while since I did a race reflection so I have a lot to say. Prepare for a long read and a lesson. I keep promising a coworker to do one for my last Marine Corps Marathon (Oct 2017). I didn’t really do one for my last half marathon in Houston (Jan 2018) where I set a new personal record. Following are a lot more I haven’t written about:
- MRC Run the Mill benefitting the Dan Crum Memorial Scholarship
- Hot Chocolate 15K
- Piney Woods Ultra 25K in Tyler State Park
- Texas Independence Relay (200 mile relay following the path of the Runaway Scrape)
- Outlaw Half Marathon in Luckenbach
- Rocky Raccoon 50K (31 miles) (Feb 2017)
- Chevron Houston Marathon (Jan 2017)
- Fort Worth Marathon (Oct 2016)
As I reflect on all these races it’s hard to sit down and write about JUST THIS ONE. Granted, this was a big one… 50 MILES!!! Who does that? I’ve been asked if I’m crazy. I’ve been told, in fact, that I am crazy. My wife even had a shirt made that said I was crazy. All signs point to, I’M CRAZY! It may be true.
There’s a lot I could write about from this last weekend. I could write about the fact that three of my running buddies set new personal distance records, two 50 milers and one 50K. I’m proud of all 3. I could write about how another running buddy was the 5th overall female to finish the 50 miler. I’m proud of her as well. I won’t forget the stupid roots and mud… everywhere. I could tell you about how awesome my wife was out there cheering all of us on (and hundreds of other strangers). Evidently, she was thanked many times for volunteering. The other runners never even knew she wasn’t there for
them. I won’t forget the relief I felt when I saw the finish line. I cherish the fact that my boys ran me in both times I came into the Dogwood Aid Station (25 mile and finish). They cheered the whole time running along with me. I won’t forget those few hundredths of a mile any time soon, hopefully not in my lifetime! Yeah, I was a little sore for a few days. But you know what? I’ll probably do it again, maybe next time I’ll run longer. While I hang my medal up with all the others I reflect on two things.
First, I was reminded how fun it was to be out there with friends and family. Heck, after these races all friends become family. The morning of the race we were excited as we waited in the tent for the start. We took pictures, gave each other fist bumps, and talked nervously about our race strategies. During the race we exchanged high fives as we passed. We would stop momentarily to check on each other. After, we relished in our individual and collective victories. Each medal on my wall has a similar story. I ran those with my family. Sadly, I reflect on some of those family members who are no longer with us. I miss them, immensely. There are some that I don’t see often, but we pick back up where we left off when we do see each other. The medals hang on my walls but they represent lots of relationships I wouldn’t have without this sport.
Second, I am reminded how much this sport has developed me into who I am. Who would have thought I would run 50 miles? I was chubby through college. I was lazy and not self-confident. While I have lost most of that weight, I still don’t look like a runner. I’m not tall and lean. I’m sure some folks look at me and think, “No way he could run a marathon.” Well, I did! I was proud for my first 5K. I was proud of my first 10K, half marathon, full marathon, fastest marathon, fastest half, 50K, and now 50 miler. I’m proud of myself and my teammates for, collectively, completing a 200 mile relay. I’m proud of my friends when they accomplish their own goals. I see, through them and me, the confidence built in setting and achieving goals. Running has taught me about patience, determination, grit, and fortitude (I like that word). This sport has taught me how much I have of each. Nothing in life worth having comes easy. Sure, running isn’t for everyone. I’m not suggesting that everyone get up and run. What I am suggesting is that you set goals for yourself and work to achieve them. If they were worth setting, they are worth achieving. When you think to yourself that achieving your goal has become too hard, or that you can’t do it, you are selling yourself short. You do that enough times and you start believing it. There WILL be upsets along the way. Those are learning opportunities. Get back up and have another go at it. Trust me, you’ll be doing yourself a favor. I’ll be there rooting you on!