The Chances You Miss…

“Don’t worry about failures. Worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.” – Canfield

This is where I’m stuck.

Over the last week, I’ve been struggling with the decision I made to not toe the line at the Euchre Bar Massacre. My sister, Rondi, and I signed up for this race back in May. We heard about the event through a group of pretty skilled runners and jumped at the opportunity to try something new, adventurous, challenging, and down-right scary. Originally, we signed up without being fully committed to the race. We figured we would register, and then make a decision a bit later as to whether or not we were going to commit to this off trail, unmarked 25 mile jaunt through the mountains of California, which a woman has not finished in the last 5 years.

Once we officially committed (and bought plane tickets), I knew there were some things I needed to do in order to show up as prepared as possible. First, I needed to put time and energy into learning navigation with a map and compass. I searched for a local orienteering class, but none of them fit with my schedule. So, I planned to just be self-taught with help from YouTube. But, in the end, I never did this. Any of it. Instead, I opted to rely on the map on my phone to show me the way.

Next, I knew I needed to work on incline and strength work, as the race profile looks like this…

We don’t really have any giant hills, let alone mountains, near my home here in Michigan that could properly prepare me. But, I vowed to do 30 minutes of incline work on the treadmill, 5 days a week, in addition to my marathon training plan, in order to be physically ready. I stuck to that plan for about 2 weeks, and then slipped into the “comfort” of just following a marathon training plan, sans true hill work OR strength work. Ya. Big mistake.

A few weeks out from the event, the race director posted this on the event Facebook page:

And at that, I went ahead and jumped right back into my incline work, fully aware that it was too late, and what would be would be.

All of this to say, I showed up at a campground in California for a race that I wasn’t really prepared for.  And, in a moment of weakness, I let that fear of being unprepared keep me from starting the race.

Now, I could sit here and list every single GOOD reason we had to drive away from that start line at 5:30 am race morning, but that’s not really what this blog is about. This is just me, owning up to that decision. I said I was going to start that race and give it everything I had, and I didn’t do that. And I don’t like how that feels. I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY don’t like it when people say they’re going to do things, and then they back out of them. And that’s exactly what I did.

To try and make up for that, I decided that the only way I wasn’t starting that race was if we ran 26.2 miles in California and another 26.2 miles in Nevada before heading home. So, that’s what we did.

View of Lake Tahoe from the Tahoe Rim Trail.
Lake Tahoe, where we finished our self-supported California marathon.
Incline High School track, Nevada. Where we ran 105 laps for a total of 26.2 miles.

I can tell you that that was really hard, and beautiful, and fun, and hard and loaded with memories that I wouldn’t trade in for other memories. But, I’m left with the regret of showing up at a race without doing the work necessary to complete the race, and then, not even giving it a shot. I don’t ever want to be known as that girl who says she’s going to do something, and then doesn’t do it. That isn’t me. And it leaves me wanting to be better. Wanting to work harder. Wanting to not only do the things I tell others I’m going to do, but also do the things I tell myself I’m going to do.

In the end, I know the weekend went exactly how it was supposed to go. It ended up being amazing, just not in the way it was planned to be. We went to California (and Nevada), and pushed our bodies physically and mentally, and I know that most people completely understood why we didn’t do that race.  It’s not really that hard to understand why someone would be too scared to give it a try. But, I don’t want to be that person that’s too scared to give something a try.  I want to be the person that is terrified, but still finds the courage to saddle up anyway.

“Every runner will face off with their toughest opponent….the weakness that dwells in each of us and does its best to prevent us from finding the greatness that is in there as well. weakness volunteers itself.
greatness we have to seek….” – Laz

Euchre Bar Massacre. It taught me a lot, and I hope to go back and see what else I can learn.