During a conversation with some of my Coeur teammates, we were talking about back of the pack racing and I went back to look at some race results to figure out if I had ever actually been the last finisher in a race. (The fact that I didn’t know shows you just how much I care about my placement.) But in doing so, I also went back to read my recap of my worst race this year, the General Smallwood International. This race was technically the slowest paced, though in my mind, it was the worst because of the weather. It was cold and rainy and just miserable.
But I also remember being pretty miserable about being so far behind in the pack. The run was a looped course and on the second loop, I didn’t see anyone. Just me, running through the woods all alone. At least by then the rain had mostly stopped and it was just insanely wet. I remember wanting to quit, but being much too stubborn to quit. After all, it wasn’t like I was hurt or sick. I just wasn’t having fun. That’s not a reason to quit.
When I went back to look at my race report though, I was blunt about how disappointed I was in myself for how I had performed in the race. Before I read that, I just felt proud that I gutted it out and still finished. And I’m still proud that I finished. I haven’t forgotten the misery, but with time, I’ve been able to reframe that bad race. The conditions were terrible. I stuck it out anyway and I finished. My splits weren’t that bad given the weather.
So while it’s definitely still my worst race, I see it differently than I did in the days following the race. And I guess the lesson is that time does heal and reframing your situation can always help. Maybe you had a bad race. But did you stick it out and refuse to give up? That’s what counts. (Of course, if you’re injured, please stop – doing the smart thing and knowing when you’re risking worse injury takes a lot of guts and it’s worth it in the end.)