First, thank you to the individuals that sent me congratulations. This post is not to take away from that.
For me personally, not finishing the Leadville 100 Mile Endurance Run is upsetting. Only two people really agreed with how I was feeling. One was my 10 year old daughter. She said it best,
"He didn't do good. It was a 100 mile race and only did 50. What sort of person just stops trying?"
I feel that people in society try find something good in everything with the best of intentions. Although, to me not achieving what I set out to do is less than acceptable. Yes, I ran 50 miles through the Rocky Mountains over mountains of 11800' and 12600' in 13 hours. That means nothing and should not be celebrated. Giving ones best is the only thing that should be celebrated when the goal is achieved.
When I stood at the Winfield Aid Station (mile 50) and stepped on the scale to confirm my weight I told them I was dropping. Looking back now I had no idea that decision would bother me so terribly. I ask myself now, "Why did you give up?" True there was pain in my toes, but I should have overcome it and pushed through that. I trained for months in snow, rain, heat, cold, exhaustion & everything else to toe the line. Never did the thought occur to "just stop." I am sure that the 71 year old man that finished the race had moments were he wanted to quit and so did the other 360+ finishers. They however gutted it out, displayed true grit and achieved their goal. Standing at the finish line watching those runner come in made me realize even more what I left out there on the course. And at the awards ceremony as most hobbled/limped up to collect their buckle the sheer joy on their face was worth the struggle. Now one can take away what they achieved, but I took away from myself from not continuing on the course to see what I could really achieve.
There is a tag line on the bottom of my work email: "Running does not build my character it reveals it." Well the character I displayed is not the person I want to be known as. Next year I will toe the line and no matter what comes Leadville dishes out I will take it and go the distance. Once I have that belt buckle in my hand then I will truly appreciate the thanks that has been given to me.
The worse part is I have to wait another 357 days to try again.