This weekend I will run the race that I’ve trained the most for all summer: The Spartan Beast. On Saturday, I’ll run nearly 14 miles in the mountains and complete 30 obstacles. I’ve never crossed a start line without crossing a finish line. As the days draw closer, I’m realizing how bad I want it and how much is scares me to think I might not finish.
In this world of strange encounters and social media stalking, I’ve met and come across only a few stories like my own. I’ve always been touched by Gary Stotler’s journey to health and we continue to communicate and support each other’s journey’s online throughout the past two years. Gary was morbidly obese like myself and went on to lose the weight and complete marathons. After reaching those goals, he has gone on to be an endurance trail runner. Last year I watched Gary train for and complete the Silver Rush Leadville 50. Again this year he trained for an even bigger race: The Leadville 100. I felt such joy for Gary when he completed his first 100 mile race in March. Then he just kept training and training. He looked like he couldn’t have set himself up better for the Leadville 100. I tracked Gary online throughout the race to see how far he had gone. On Sunday, while I was up early, I checked to see where he was before I got out of bed. He had run through the night and should be finishing in a few hours. And I was shocked. Did Not Finish. WHAT? What happened? Is he ok? I must have put in the wrong bib number………
Later I found out that due to both mental and physical aspects, Gary had quit at mile 69. Now, 69 miles is farther than I will ever travel in a race. 69 miles is a jaw dropping amount of miles, even on the street. I was so proud of how far he had gotten, but I was shocked that he hadn’t finished. He had always finished. He seemed to accomplish every goal he set out for but this time, he didn’t cross the finish line.
So this week, I’ve been trying my best to mentally focus for my race. As I do so, I’ve been asking myself, “Did I put too many eggs in the basket?” Meaning, if I fail the race, will it make me feel as though I’ve failed? Will I feel like I’ve wasted the entire race season? Today is the first day I can say, no. Today I realize how freaking lucky I really am.
In preparing for this race, I have had some of the most fun I’ve ever had. I’ve met some of the best people on the planet. Nothing can change the journey I’ve been on and nothing can take away the memories I’ve created. The journey has truly been the best part 🙂
I will give everything I’ve got to my race on Saturday, and I just might come up short. I’ve done everything I could do to prepare and those who know me know I’ll go as hard as I can. I know I’ll cross that finish line, but now I can truly say, if I don’t, it won’t be the end of my world. My world is full of awesome people! Thanks to everyone who has helped me train this year, even for one workout. You all continue to push me, inspire me and make me the athlete that I am. Love you guys.