The Ephemerality of Failure

Posted: June 5, 2016 in Uncategorized

I’ve returned to two 50 mile races in my life.  Each 2 years after my initial respective success.  Each resulting in quitting at the 50k mark.  Let’s see if I can write one of these without coming out of the closet or plugging intermittent anorexia as a means to a faster 5k.  

Yesterday:
Went out at 7:20 pace and comfortably sustained for a while. Got through aid 1 and grabbed a gel and a larger handheld.  Was sweating more than normal, but not concerned.  Spent about 20 seconds at the aid station and took off.  Stayed fast through aid 2, in and out without stopping.  Ate a piece of pb&j while ascending a mellow climb, and began running more comfortably than before.  

Actually, fuck it.  I’m sitting at a horse stable right now punching this thing into my mobile device like a typical millennial, pretending I have a thirst for escape from the bullshit of society yet squeezing my fucking phone so hard my knuckles are white.  I have nothing of interest to say regarding a single failed attempt to run a race. I’m at my happy place right now getting drizzled on and periodically listening to a small stampede.  I’ll put my shoes on in a minute and run my best friends favorite trail once because she can’t do it right now, and then I’ll carry on with my recovery and my life as though there was never a blip.  I went off course.  Not like, “oops, haven’t seen a flag in a while!” But more like, “hey we’re really killing this thing right now.  Look at all these course markings.  It sure is nice to be on course.”(banter with last years 9th place guy from bear mountain)

And then a person.  One that’s like, great job guys, you’re one and two.  And we’re kinda like, no.  We’re not one or two. Maybe 12 and 13.  But not one and/or two.  So we turn around and walk curiously back down a hill for a few minutes.  Can’t figure out what we did wrong.  Walk back up.  See the actual first and second place guys. Yea, we missed a turn.  I frantically started retracing my footsteps…for a fucking mile.  Two miles off course.  Two miles of getting passed by people.  Two miles of standing around trying to figure out what happened.   Two miles of deciding this race is over.  

Don’t be a pussy, wekdeb.  

Okay Michael. 

Run. 

But first let’s sit at the aid station for ten minutes eating watermelon and trying to figure out if the pink hat looks faster than the purple hat in my wardrobe.  

And let’s run really well to the next check point and be more pissed because you’re running perhaps better than you ever have but you managed simply by being Welden and fucking everything up, to let insurmountable leads be put on you.  So let’s sit here and eat freeze pops and mainline pickle juice and hope cardiac arrest finds us before someone tells us to stand the fuck up and run. 

Run, Welden. 

No. 

Basically, I’ve finished enough of these to know its okay to not finish one.  I’m not about to risk my season to finish an hour off my goal.  My failures from the past have all left me.  I carry that awareness with me and it makes life a bit more digestible.  It’s 24 hours later and I don’t care anymore. Maybe I never did.  I know somewhere in the deepest recesses of my being that I had at least an 8:30 in me.  Wasn’t interested in a 9:30. So I bagged it. Got smashed.  Worked on my skin cancer for a bit.  Packed my things.  And left running behind.  

That’s it really.  Sometimes I need this sport like I need food and air.  Sometimes I need it like I need to wake up to Liam neeson holding a detonator in his hand asking me where his daughter is and telling me about his unique skills and the explosive device in my rectum. 

My ego gets me into and out of every mess I’ve found myself in.  Yesterday my ego saved me and broke me simultaneously.  I ran thirty miles,  spent time with people that have made life absolutely worth living over the last few years, watched some amazing runners do some amazing things, and walked away from a night I’d been looking forward to for 6 months.  I’m okay with all of those things except for the last one.  But I’m getting there with that one as time goes on.  Because, surprise. Time fucking goes on.  And the wonderful condition of being human has provided you with innate amnesia so that you can always move on in conjunction with time.  

I tried talking about running.  And ended up with this mess.  Much love to you all.  

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