I am one of those people that tends to do too much, get overwhelmed, have a breakdown, and then re-do the cycle, over, and over. I've gotten a little bit better. I used to be unable to say the words no. I'd see an opportunity and always say yes. Ok I still often say yes, but I do know when I am getting close to the breaking point and need to back off.
People keep asking if I'll be doing Western States. My answer: no. First because I am not prepared to take on a 100 mile race, I just started running ultras a little over two months ago. Miwok taught me a great deal. I was not physically or emotionally prepared for that race. Yes I did it and I am proud of myself, but I felt a little disconnected from the joy I get from running. With all that said, the actual race was overall good even with the nausea and ups and downs. It was the aftermath that has me reconsidering longer races without preparation. I was up on and off the whole night after sick. I hobbled out of bed the next morning and I could barely get on my bike to ride to work (I know bad idea to work the next day, but like I said, I am horrible at saying no). In fact, I literally had to pick my leg up to place it on the peddle. I only taught for a couple hours, but the entire time I felt terrible. I didn't have an appetite until about 3 in the afternoon. I spent most the day laying in bed, other than a brief cleaning frenzy moment. I don't like feeling blah and I don't know how I expected to feel after 62 miles, but I guess I was hoping for more than just blah. As for today, I am doing much better. I walked to work and my body feels almost 100%, but emotionally, I am not as great. Feeling a little depressed and I know it is related to everything my body has been through in the last 48 hours. I had not expected the emotional piece, which makes it that much harder.
My second reason for not jumping into States is my heart is not in that particular race. My heart is in running. I just love to run whether it is a race or not, I don't care. Being out in the woods, in the mud, hearing my breath makes me incredibly happy. In fact that is why I hate even missing a day of it. I never want to fall out of love with running and I do fear jumping into a race like WS could do it. Maybe, I'll be sharing too much, but I think it deserves sharing. In my late teens/early 20's, I struggled with anorexia. I denied my body nutrients and denied my heart joy. It was my mom who told me that my body is the one thing I will have my entire life, so I've got to love it like crazy. Those words, my love of running, and my art changed my perspectives and in the years following my recovery, my body and heart became something that I listened to, cared for, and appreciated.
Lastly, I am one of those people that always wants to do well at something. I don't want to go out there and just wing it. I want to do really well. This is not a race where I can just wing it and do well, it takes planning and preparation. I just started ultras. In some ways I've barely had time to absorb the last couple months. It has been kind of a whirlwind. I never expected to be doing so well. I just love to run. When I run Western States, I want to be able to soak up the experience, know my heart is in it, be prepared, and do the best I possibly can. So yup, no WS for me this year, maybe next year, maybe not. As long as I am running, I am happy.
(I took this photo about two years ago. I was having a crummy day and I went up to Lake Chabot. Ran for a couple hours and took my shitty camera with me. About 3/4 of the way into the run, I decided to just plain jump in the mud puddles. One of the best runs of my life.)