16 October 2017

Glacial Trail 50k

Don’t look back.

That’s what I kept telling myself in the final miles of last weeks Glacial Trail 50 K. I had gone into the race with very little training or running in the past couple weeks, but this race is one of my favorites and with the beautiful forecast for the day, I couldn’t help but sign up and give it a go.

Considering my training, I wasn’t expecting to be as fast as I have been in the past. I have run this 50k race three times with a personal best of 4 hours and 6 minutes.  I had also done the 50 mile race twice.  The race starts and ends in Greenbush, is on the beautiful Ice Age Trail, and is a very "low key" event that I consider my "home race."  Add in the fact that a couple patients of mine were also running, and I came down with a bad case of "FOMO."  Fear Of Missing Out.

So I signed up and decided to temper my expectations a bit and see what the day would bring.

For the most part, it was good!  I felt strong and in control for most of the day.  With about 10 miles to go, then the legs started to weaken.  And with that, my determination and competitiveness did as well.  I was in second place and started to wonder that as my pace slowed...would I get passed by more runners?  

So I kept thinking two things.  First, I MUST finish, as my son, Edwin, would tell me to "Never Give Up."  Second, Dont look back.  

What are the possible outcomes if I started to look over my shoulder in the final miles of a race?  Well, if I look over my shoulder and don't see any runners catching me, that just re-enforces  the idea that it's "okay" for me to continue at a slower, less-than-100% effort.  That's no good!

What happens if I look over my shoulder and I do, in fact, see someone catching up?  Well, that's quite a deflating feeling and will almost guarantee that the pursuing runner catches me.  And chances are there are more than just one single runner who will catch me!

Because of these outcomes, I do my best to NOT look over my shoulder.  It's really hard though...and with about half of a mile to go in the 31.6-mile race...I looked over my shoulder.  Guess what?  Third place was gaining on me.  At this point the absolute last thing on my mind is running hard for about 4 minutes, but that's what I had to do.  I managed to hold on to 2nd place by about 30 seconds.  Then I found the closest patch of green grass, laid down, and didn't move for about 15 minutes.

The idea of "Don't Look Back" also works when it comes to our health.  Take some inventory of how you are feeling right now.  Both mentally, physically, and emotionally.  Are you well?  While the past, and "looking back" at the past can help you to understand why you're here right now, it doesn't help whatsoever in getting you where you want to be.  Improving your quality of life, your happiness, your health can only be improved by looking forward!  Take today and make a change.  Go for a walk.  Start a new healthy habit and then do it again tomorrow.  

We only get one 'go' at this life so make the best of today and strive for a better and healthier "you"! 

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