This last weekends relay race, 2012 The Relay, was something I have looked forward to for a while as it is something unusual, community building and something that push runners above and beyond anything they might have tried before. It was also suppose to be one of the final long training runs before my next marathon which takes place in Stockholm the first weekend in June. Instead it was a huge learning experience for me in how to let go and look at the big picture.
While disappointments are always going to be a part of our lives we do have a choice in how we react to it. It is not uncommon when we get disappointed to go into self-pity and martyr. On the first day of the race I could definitely feel my disappointment and an occasional dip into self-pity. That little voice that says "I'll never be able to run an ultra" or "This always happens to me". Of course none of this is true but while it is going on it does puts a damper on my mood and probably those around me as well. I could have chosen to stay this way while watching those around me run for 35 hours, literally. Instead, I allowed myself to really feel disappointed not just about this weekend but also about the possibility of not being able to run a marathon in 3 weeks. At about 2:30 on Sunday morning as I watched one of my team mates ,who covered this leg for me, running along Ocean beach under an extraordinary moon I decided to accept what was.
Wow! What a difference. I had decided to take back power over my situation. Instead of letting my injury guide me I was now in charge. From this place the view is much more clear. What looked like a "devastating" situation 10 hours earlier now looked like a great opportunity to learn something about myself. The immediate impact on me and those around me was my ability to be much more supportive of the runners on our team. I was no longer polluting the space with my less then positive attitude. What could I do? First off I had to feel like I was contributing. I told the team, "I want to take over the driving for the rest of day". This and an awesome cappuccino put me in great mood and a bunch of tired runners where all of a sudden bombarded with upbeat attitude. The rest of the weekend was so much more fun. Supporting other amazing athletes is a great privilege and I felt fortunate to be a part of their experience.
What does all of this mean long term. 48 hours later after I decided to take back power of my life, I'm aqua jogging, have appointments with a chiropractor and a back doctor. But more importantly I have accepted that I might very well not run a marathon in 3 weeks and I have realized that I have not trained properly to take my running to the next level. Running as a life style requires a combination of things that all together lead to greater running. Things like proper nutrition, cross training, strength training, proper sleep and paying more attention to the body. In retrospect I could have seen this coming if I had paid attention. It is easy to get carried away when you find something you love to do. The good news that in the not to distant future I can still do it and do it better then ever with some adjustments to my routines.
In the end this is exactly what had to happen for me to be successful in my ultimate goal, to run an Ultra and more.