Shelly signed up for a 50-mile race through the woods. The night before the race it rained. The course was muddy — the type of mud that takes your shoe off. Maneuvering through the clay mixture on the hills required hanging on to the trees for the climb. After the slippery climb she was all smiles — loving it. Shelly misread a directional sign and repeated the first part of the course, adding 4 miles. She worked hard at not dwelling on that mistake. Many of the runners where on their second loop while she was still working on her first one.
She started to get discouraged, seeing no progress and feeling like she’d been on loop number one forever. After the second aid station, she began to feel nauseous and dizzy. The last drink she swallowed wasn’t agreeing with her. As she neared the end of the first loop, the crowd was already thinning out. She had two more 16.6 mile loops and that sounded impossible. Maybe this wasn’t her race — perhaps the best plan was to drop out.
After the first loop, she refueled, changed her socks and started running agin. At the first aid station, she was pleased with her decision to continue. She had her second wind. In the next section of the course, she fell apart again. Finally, she’d made it to the last loop. The first half of that loop went well. By the second aid station, her body ached, feet ached, mental strength waned with 8 miles still to go. By the time she arrived at the final aid station, she was nearing the cutoff time of 16 hours. She never planned on needing that much time. The final four miles, a friend walked in front of her and one behind her in an effort to get her to walk faster. There was no more running.
A few hundred yards to the finish she managed to run. She ran in with only 8 seconds to spare. She was dead last and it felt awesome.
Don’t compare your race to anyone else’s, run your own race!