And it's true. I couldn't keep up. I have no business going, and it's better that I don't go. There's only one day that has a bail out option, and it's still a 20 mile day. 20 miles at least, with some very fast runners who don't have time to wait around for me. It's just a strange realization that I don't belong.
To be fair, a few months ago when Ryan was deciding whether or not to go, I just wanted to do my own thing. Have some space. Run a race I've done before and see if I can get better at it. I knew I would be traveling so much that I couldn't see myself unloading my dog on Grandma yet again, and not being around. My house was falling apart (still is) and I need to spend some time at home. So, I told Ryan to go by himself. And I really meant it.
Now that the weekend is here, I'm suddenly feeling inadequate. And, frankly, that is bullshit.
I don't know when my life evolved into this fantasy where every hobby I had needed to be some extreme endurance event, or some fringe society's idea of ridiculous fun, some extreme challenge that "normies" don't do. I can't even remember what I used to do for fun before I was into running ultras.
And that makes me angry.
But on top of all that, what really stresses me out is how ridiculously good I am at feeling sorry for myself.
I must be the best person in the world when it comes to pity parties. I'm not good enough, no one likes me, once again - proof that I am bad at everything I do, etc.
What will it take for me to be proud of anything I do? 28 miles? Most people never run a single marathon. I just did one! Last month! And you'll never hear me say anything good about it. A marathon! 26.2 miles in the rain the whole way! And before that? Trail running in Moab? Training in the mountains? Isn't there something to that? All I can focus on is how bad I did. How fat I looked in the photos. How slow I was. I could have dropped. I could have decided not to run it. But I still did it. The problem is, with an already low self esteem, setting myself up against the top 5% of runners doesn't seem to help my self image. It's not their fault. I'm the one looking for clues to prove I am different. Defective. Unusual. Etc. And, maybe I'm right to a degree. Maybe its hard to be part of a group where you are setting yourself up to be worse than everyone else in it.
I know that if I didn't run, I probably would never see my husband. But still. I have got to find a way to feel better about myself. Running used to do it, and now running seems to have caused the opposite.
I went for a hike/run Monday to clear my head. I headed up BCC by myself and hiked to Catherine's Pass. I took my time, hung out and just relaxed. I ran on the way down. There were just a few fleeting moments where I felt good. It was nice to run. This was the run I did last year that really left me feeling happy about being a runner. I haven't gotten it back. Maybe I will. I hope I will. But in the meantime, it sort of sucks to be "just a runner". Just a normal person, running at the back of the pack. Not making any amazing moves, or setting any PRs or FKTs.
In any case, part of me knows that I have got to get over this. But the other part of me feels like if I try hard enough, I too can be great. I can keep up with the fast runners. I can knock out a 50 miler in the mountains at altitude and still look fresh at the finish. I too could do Speedgoat on my first try and say, "Gee that was tough" and then throw back a beer and think about the next one.
I've been hoping that writing about this turns my attitude around. And it's sort of helping. I feel better than I did a few days ago. I'm not as tired. And hopefully I will get to a place where I don't see running a simple 50K as inadequate. If I don't, then I just doubt I could be happy doing much of anything. So, I'll just keep running. Slowly. And finishing races at the back of the pack. Or, timing out when I am too slow. Or, staying home instead of joining the next adventure, year after year.