Last weekend I attempted to run 100 miles at the Rio del Lago 100 miler. I ended up quitting at 70 miles. Mentally, I just wasn’t in the game that day and I pretty much gave up. I wish that I had a better excuse, like I got injured (ok not really) or was projectile vomiting or something. Anything else would have been a better excuse, than just giving up. I have been dwelling over my decision all week. And I know most people are going to say, “Oh well 70 miles is still REALLY far!” but it was just not good enough. I set out to do 100 miles and I quit. I was undertrained and slow and frustrated at what a horrible job I was doing and so I just decided to give up. I am pissed at myself because that is not the kind of athlete that I want to be.
Thinking back through my race, I realized I had made several errors that may have caused me to slow down and not have the race I wanted. My nutrition was horrible. I would go for 2-3 hours at a time with no calories or very minimal calories. I was pretty much only taking in Vitargo when I had it at my drop bag, which sometimes would be 10 miles apart. I felt fine for a while, but not consuming enough calories I think slowly wore me down throughout the day. I also don’t think I was drinking enough. I didn’t refill my hydration pack until 27 miles into the race, which means I drank about 60 oz in 6 hours… not nearly enough water. I also didn’t pack enough clothes for the night portion. It was a lot colder than I had expected it to be and all I had was a pair of arm sleeves.
All of these problems could have been easily fixable though at mile 70. I was completely fine otherwise. I could have sat for a little while and ate and drank and put on warmer clothes (my car was at that aid station). But I was just frustrated and pissed off and took the easy way out. I tried to pretend like it was ok and I was happy about dropping, but a few hours later I started really regretting my decision.
Besides from realizing what I physically needed to do in order to have a better race, I also learned that I need to have a better mindset when going into races. Lately I have been putting a lot of pressure on myself to try and do well at races. I know that not every race is going to be a great race, but I just need to keep on reminding myself that that is ok sometimes. Sometimes, its the races that you do the worst at, that are your best. I had a HORRIFIC performance at Western States 100 in 2010, but that race will always remain so special to me just because I fought so hard just to finish under the time cut off. That is the type of athlete I want to get back into being. Not necessarily a super slow one, but one who fights through till the end.