I had some time to kill waiting for a flight this morning, so I started looking back through some posts on my old blog that I had written around the time of my first 100-miler. I ran the Lost Soul Ultra in September, 2011. It was held in the city where I grew up (Lethbridge, AB, Canada), and is dubbed “The toughest race on the prairies.” I probably should have paid more attention to the slogan before I signed up for the race. Oh well, live and learn!
Although I was grossly undertrained for the distance (as I am again for Rocky Raccoon, surprise!), I knew that the mental challenge would be the most difficult thing to overcome. Leading up to the race, my wife would routinely ask me, “Are you going to finish?” It was her way of both gauging my confidence, and reminding me that I needed to decide ahead of time whether or not I was going to finish. As a result, I came up with three reasons why I would DNF (“did not finish”) the race.
-If my urine contained blood
-If I was going to injure myself to the point of needing surgery
-If I broke a bone in one of my legs
Luckily none of those things happened, and so I had no excuse to quit.
I also put a lot of pressure on myself because of my food choices. In one of my posts I wrote:
“One of the primary reasons that I didn’t allow quitting to be an option was because of my diet. As a vegan, I feel like my food choices are under constant scrutiny from others – probably more so because I’m a runner. I’m rather confident that if I were to have quit for ANY reason (blisters, pain, broken femur, …) there are some who would attribute my lack of success to my lack of meat. And quite frankly, I couldn’t let that happen! I know that I am far healthier now than I was when I ate a more “traditional” diet, but my choice is still met with judgements on a frequent basis. So, for all of the vegans out there, I was making damn sure I finished that race! Let’s face it – if I run 100 miles on nothing but plants (and licorice!), any questions about protein and energy can quite easily put to rest by pointing to the 30lb finisher’s rock that’s sitting in my living room.”
Having completed the distance once already, I’m more secure in my plant-based diet. I still don’t want to DNF at Rocky, but I also don’t want to be stupid like I was a few weeks ago.
Over the next 10 days I may resurrect a few posts from the Lost Soul Ultra. There are things that I’d forgotten about (like having the shit scared out of me when I nearly stepped on a beaver at 3am), and things that I would probably like to have forgotten (like how hot it got during the second day).
For now though, I’ll just sit back and watch the video that my wife put together from the race. Even though it’s been 18 months, every time I hear Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life”, I feel like a little bit of a badass.