DNF'd While Daring Greatly


"The credit belongs to the man {woman} in the arena, whose face is marred by dust & sweat & blood." A favorite quote of mine from Teddy Roosevelt. I will be honest, I know little about the former President...history was never really my thing. I do know that throughout my work with Team RWB I have had this quote read to me, read this quote to others, and read this quote personally more times than I can count. I now know why.

Earlier this year I signed up for my first race; a 50k. I didn't just sign up for my first Ultra, I signed up for my first race - ever and it just happened to be an Ultra. I trained. I whined. I was miserable. I hurt, everywhere. I am not a runner I would say. Why in the name of everything did I think this was a good idea I would question. I felt like a fraud, I am not a runner. I continued to train. I worked my butt off. Hours out of my week doing my least favorite thing, running. I realized if I could just get out of my head I actually enjoyed the trails. If I quit worrying about the miles and just focused on one foot in front of the other I wasn't miserable. I became obsessed with New Balance shoes. I ate a lot of Jolly Ranchers. I discovered that Airheads makes the best gum for long runs. I would explore and find new trails. I learned a lot of cool new places in the Bismarck area that I had no idea existed. I made running a priority. I became pretty good friends with a few people who helped make the running experience less miserable. I signed up for a 15k. I ran a half. I didn't hate my time on the trails. I started to feel less like a fraud. I looked forward to my time, lost in the trees, feet dirty and legs tired. I started to feel like a runner. I trained. I trained hard. 

August 12th after a maze of red windy roads, cows blocking my path, random patches of snow and a pretty kick ass Hanson playlist I stepped into MY arena. The arena was named the Maah Daah Hey. I was ready. I felt great. My nutrition was on point. I slept the night before. I was excited. I worked hard. I wanted this and I tend to be a pretty determined person. I was cursing the large beast of a hill, but having a blast on the declines. I was high fiving people I have never met as we crossed paths. 

After a number of out and backs I still felt pretty good. Finally got the nutrition under wraps. Wasn't sure how I'd do that beast I called switchback hell 2 more times but otherwise in a good place. Got up the beast and started to work my way down. Pain shot from my big toe to my butt cheek. Cramping, gotta be normal right? Figured I'd make my way down and walk it off a bit and stretch. Pain through the entire rest of the way down. Got to a flat way and stretched a little and walked. Felt good. Trudged up another incline, legs were on fire but no pain. Started to go downhill and extreme pain again. With no option, I made my way walking up hill, slowly running the flats and walking down the declines until I got to the aid station. I removed my shoes and my socks to find a huge lump on the arch of my foot which was also a pretty purple. I could not move my big toe without extreme pain and if I attempted to plantar flex my foot a pain shot up to my bum. I iced it, thought I could wait it out a bit. No luck. After a few tears and accepting what was happening I got a ride back to the start. I got into my car and cried the entire 3 hour drive home. 

I continued to cry for the next two days.

I let everyone down.

People donated money to support Team RWB with my attempt to do so. 

I let everyone down.

I failed.

I failed bad.

Or in race terms...I DNF'd.

I cried a little more. How was I going to tell everyone I couldn't make it past half way?

"...but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly..."

I tried. 

I tried hard.

I learned to enjoy running.

I raised money for an organization I believe fully in.

I ran more in the past few months than ever before. 

I felt my depression was much less noticeable than in months prior. 

I showed up.

I showed up without fear.

I gave it all that I had.

I didn't quit. 

My posterior tibialis (a calf muscle) quit.

I showed up.

I gave it my all.

I failed.

I failed.

But I dared greatly. 

I will try again. 

I may fail again. 

I will dare greatly.

I will eventually not fail. 

I will know triumph of high achievement and at worst, if I fail - I will fail daring greatly.