When I moved to New Mexico I fell into running and that was a perfect fit for my fairly obsessive and addiction prone personality.
I found fitness figures like David Goggins or Cameron Hanes extremely motivating. Never Quit. No Excuses. Nobody Cares-Work Harder. Many runners have certain mantras that give them the extra hoorah when its raining, blowing sideways, or your tired from working all day. So regardless of the weather or my energy level, I’d go out and train.
This worked pretty darn well, I got 3rd in my first 50k and top 20 in a pretty deep half marathon. I wasn’t going to go pro but this made for some really good feelings.
I think everyone who pushes themselves either mentally or physically has to have ego to match their goal. You have to believe it is possible every step of the way.
During a long race or a backcountry hunt there will be moments or hours where you feel like absolute crap. Everything has gone wrong, your legs hurt, your tired, and your miles or days from anywhere. You have to believe you’re going to come out of that hole and you’ll get to a better place. Failure is not an option.
Burro training was going well, numerous group outings and a solid lead up to the race. I had just done really well two weeks before at the Georgetown and Idaho Springs, Colorado races. I was pumped and I felt she was ready to rock.
The gun went off, organized chaos ensued and we headed out of town in the front pack. Julia led me up the hill out of town for the first mile and we reached the first strong uphill. She started walking. We pretty much walked the next 6 miles to the turn around and walked/half jogged the remaining 7 miles or so.
I was so angry at Julia in Creede. The race was more physically demanding than I expected and I hurt from the unexpected 15 mile jaunt. Why did she quit on me? Training had went so well.
I’m not proud of myself for how I acted towards her. I yelled, pushed, and smacked her with the lead rope. I didn’t even know I had a temper to lose until she turned on donkey turtle mode, going down hill, walking at impossibly slow pace. I even kneed her in the rear. I would like to stay it was an accident, but I know it wasn’t.
My actions did not help her or my feelings towards running that day.
I believe you need an ego or just strong mental discipline to keep up with the training that long trail races require. However, a burro race completely contradicts that. It is up to the burro that day.
They don’t care about your goals or accomplishments. The are deaf to all your mental thoughts.
What they can do very well is read your feelings and your attitude. How I responded to Julia’s walking solidified what our experience was going to be. Not enjoyable, for either of us.
I still haven’t figured it out. Was she hurt that day? Did she legitimately quit that day? Maybe my training plan needs revisited? I could try spending most my training miles with her instead of only a few sundays prerace. Winning isn’t everything but it feels good.
Maybe that’s the ego talking.
I wish I had some epiphany to wrap this all up with, but I don’t. If someone has figured it out, please let me know. Maybe my actions in Creede was just the death throes of my ego needing to get checked.
Maybe I need my ego more than she does.