The training for my 100-mile race at the EC 100 is ramping up. We have passed the halfway point of the 200-day challenge and we are needing to put in about 50-60 miles a week at this point to prepare our bodies for the "fun" at the October ultra marathon. This week I put in about ten miles a day, about five miles running and five miles speed walking at each daily session. Today is Saturday and even if I take a rest day tomorrow, I will have 73.5 miles for the week--my greatest number of miles running ever! It has been challenging, but having the EC100 event as the goal to train for has made every mile put in worth it...and then yesterday happened.
I have heard stories about such things, but I never imagined it would happen to me and my 0 to 100-mile hero teammates. After 102 days behind us and 98 days left to train, we received an email from the EC100 Race Director (RD) letting us know that he was canceling the race that we have all been training so hard for. I am still in a little bit of shock and I honestly don't know how I feel at this point.
I must confess that a TINY little piece of me felt relieved. Maybe I can sleep in a couple days a week. Maybe I can go back to a normal number of miles per week. Maybe I can add some biking and swimming miles again. Maybe I can spend some extra time with my family and friends again...but that only flitted through my mind for a second before my next emotion flew into my mind.
I was pissed! If there was some natural disaster like a hurricane, tornado, or earthquake, that would suck, but something like that would be unavoidable. If there were wildfires that made the air unhealthy, that would be the safe thing to do. Hell, if the guy had had some health issue that prevented him from continuing on, we would all understand. The thing that made me angry was that it basically can all be summed up in one sentence. He overextended himself and was canceling because he couldn't put the time into getting everything ready. Really? When did people stop taking responsibility for promising to do something and getting it done anyway. Suck it up buttercup! There were people counting on you!
My next emotions were sad for the loss of the opportunity to complete the race we had all been training so hard for and looking forward to. I also felt frustrated that someone could just pull the rug out from under us, and we really had no control over the situation. I felt anxious wondering how I was ever going to meet this goal of completing a 100- mile race-- first the knee injury and now a cancelled race. Can you see why I am feeling such mixed emotions about this?
In the end, I am choosing not to give in to any of those emotions that won't change the situation anyway. I know that for some people they had flights planned, hotels booked, crews and pacers that now need to be canceled--I do not have these issues to complicate the process, so I am choosing to see this as just another opportunity to show how strong my will is to overcome the obstacles the seem to continue to pop up. I am choosing to believe that in life things happen for a reason. I don't always know what those reasons are, but I do know that eventually I usually see that something even greater comes my way. Yes, the old when a door closes another door or window usually opens up viewpoint. I know this makes me seem idealistic, but I refuse to waste my energy worrying about something I can't control. If I am meant to complete this hundred-mile race, then I know the coaches will figure something out for us. Until then, I will continue to complete the miles in preparation for my ultra marathon finish. I am a 100-mile champion, and I won't let anyone take that away from me!
Maybe the bigger lesson I should be learning from these challenges I have been facing since I started running is that life is always going to throw curve balls at us, but we can survive these challenges if we fight hard and don't give up on ourselves and our dreams. If I can run over 70 miles in one week. If I can survive finishing a full marathon. If I can cross the finish line at a 140.6 mile Ironman. If I can do all this, then I know that I can overcome a huge disappointment at the hands of one irresponsible Race Director!