Yesterday I posted about the Habenero Hundred 20k and how I quit the race. Luckily, I was able to jump back in because I learned a lot from this experience. All week, I talked about this race. Excitement was in the air. I shed tears on Monday because when I went to sign up for the race the 20K was sold out and I had to “settle” for the 10k. Ten minutes before the race started, I was able to upgrade my race to the 20K. Ironically, I quit the race at the 10K mark and I just walked away.
I walked away and was ok with my decision. It was hot. The sand was not like a day at the beach. I couldn’t keep my water cold which was discouraging. There was little to no shade on most of the course and it was middle of a SUMMER day. I knew all of these things before stepping out there. The truth: I was just uncomfortable. I was at peace with my decision until I started talking through the situation. The first thing I noticed was there was an only momentary relief when deciding to quit the race. I took a moment to myself, ate a sandwich, and had a COMPLETE moment to myself. I came to a realization that pulled me out of that car and I was prepared to beg for my spot back.
If my main goal in life is to inspire others to do new things, get out of their comfort zone, and just finish; how can I quit now? How will I be able to inspire you to go after your goals if I’m not doing that myself? If I’m learning from situations and trying to share that knowledge with you, I better be practicing what I preach, right?
I’ll be doing a speech next week and I didn’t want my narrative to be, “well, I got a bit uncomfortable so I decided to quit.” That is not acceptable. You know why? Leaving your comfort zone means you are growing as a person and willing to take the risk. Every time you step out of your comfort zone, you’re creating new boundaries and opening your mind to new opportunities.
It’s not always bad to feel uncomfortable.
Just because you are uncomfortable, doesn’t mean you NEED to quit. My biggest mistake with quitting this race is I didn’t embrace the fact that I was going to be uncomfortable. I’ve run this race before (a longer distance) and it was not a cake walk. It was hard. It was miserable. I knew better this time around, but I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone. That is the reason I signed up, but when it got uncomfortable I retreated. I should NEVER have done that.
Chase after your goals. Achieving your goals should not be easy and those things require work. If things always came easy, we wouldn’t be challenged. We would be bored. Why would we even try?
Things I learned along the journey:
- Sometimes it’s just best to take a moment to yourself and just think about the things that are important before quitting. Taking the time to think things through led me to the conclusion I should get back in the race. Sometimes you just need to slap yourself around and get your ish together.
- Things are not always going to be easy, embrace the challenge and see where it takes you. In this particular circumstance, I quit before I was really out. I didn’t even try to go on the second loop. If I would have quit while attempting the second loop this story would have been different because I would have attempted to continue the challenge. I counted myself out before even really trying.
- Learn from your mistakes. I went back on my second loop to change how I entered the race. The first time I went out, I went into the unknown. When entering the race again, I knew what I needed to do to make it through the next 6.22 miles. I put ice in the bottle with no water so the ice would melt into cool water. I carried and drank coconut water with me to the first aid station. Defeated at mile 3 of the race, this made all the difference in the world because I knew what to do at mile 9 (the same place of mile 3). I felt confident I was going to finish. Learning changed my spirit and my drive and I ended up finishing the race because I learned.
- Don’t make excuses for yourself. You will use those excuses are reasons to pass on a lot of different things. There is a difference between making an excuse and putting yourself in danger. During this race, I knew I wasn’t facing any danger. I was just not having an A++ time. When I was on my first loop, I justified a lot of things to myself that I didn’t necessarily need to do. I talked myself out of something that I was so amped about at the beginning of the week FOR NO REASON.
In the end, no amount of heat, no shade, or thick sand could stop me from finishing those 12.44 miles. I needed a moment like this to toughen me up. Returning to running has been a humbling experience, but a big part of it is a mental toughness. That is the tool I need to sharpen, my brain to keep fighting even when things get a little sandy (literally and figuratively). I shouldn’t have given myself a reason to give up if it wasn’t necessary. Don’t talk yourself out of something that you know that you are capable of completing.