Thursday, September 5, 2013

Let's Talk FAILURE

Saturday I'm running a race called the Volcanic 50. It's a 50K+ trail race, actually about 34 miles, circumnavigating Mt. St. Helens in Washington.

The race communications have been very clear that this is not your standard 50K race. They expect it to feel a lot more like a 50 mile race, both in effort and duration.

I realized in the priorities of my life, training was not what it could have been in August and wrote about it yesterday. And initially, I had even thought I would drop this race from my calendar, after signing up for it now 10 months ago. I came back and kept my entry with a tougher viewpoint of "What's the Worst That Can Happen?" and was glad I kept it on my calendar. This is the first exclusively racing trip where my husband Steve will travel with me. Because I truly don't know what's on the other side of this.
I have studied the course and understand what I'm getting myself into.

Will I get hurt? Will I get sick (like heat exhaustion, dehydration, etc.)? Will I get pulled at the mile 24 cutoff (the only midrace cutoff)? Will I finish and be a complete blob of muscular nothingness and in serious post-ultra pain? I don't know.

The theme in my last couple weeks has been thinking about the word FAILURE.
Thank you, Merriam-Webster!

And what is specific then in your perception of failure is what is the DUTY OR EXPECTED ACTION.

Here's what could be a failure on Saturday:

  • Failure to complete the race - this is the usual and obvious definition.
  • Failure to try - if I don't toe the line. If I don't give good effort during the race.
  • Failure to run smart - guilty of that at Tahoe Rim Trail or I shouldn't have had heat exhaustion.
And here's what will make this endeavor never ever a failure in my eyes, regardless of the completion on Saturday:
  • I dreamed of embarking on adventure
  • I had the balls to sign up
  • I will get to use tools I've never tried in a race - UV water purification and carrying all my footcare products for any triage on the fly!
  • I will see amazing scenery on Saturday
  • I will be in the presence of wonderful people who share a passion for the same sport I do
  • I will have memories, good or bad, that are not easily erased or softened with the passage of time - nothing reinforced that more than Tahoe Rim Trail 50 Mile this year!
  • I will be in a place where, without running, I would have never ever gone. I mean, c'mon, MOUNT ST HELENS!!
This is what keeps me excited while keeping fear and much of the nervous energy at bay. Because, in my eyes, this trip will never be a failure.


  1. This is why you are such a badass mountain goat. I love that you're going into this just for the experience. You're going to have some great memories no matter what!

  2. With your attitude, you have already succeeded, no matter the race result. Will be thinking of you! Run safe & smart! M&D