I am on the verge of a breakthrough.
I may, possibly, be close to making what some would consider an “adult decision.” Ok, maybe I shouldn’t get ahead of myself. Maybe it’s more like a slightly less ass-tastic decision than my usual. Hear me out.
So, I haven’t talked much about it, but Amanda and I had tentatively scheduled to run our first 50 miler on February 9 near Jacksonville, FL. In the interest of trying to save a little money, we didn’t want to put the energy into a long distance trip for the month of February, and we had been talking about doing an ultra for awhile, so it seemed like a good idea. This is where the delusional thought process begins. Fifty miles. Running. In Florida, which is basically a bastion of death and pain and hot weather no matter what time of year. I would know, I grew up there.
As my stomach has been getting worse and I’ve had more and more tests and it’s seeming like surgery is on tap for me, I’ve begun having my doubts about how reasonable it is to expect my stomach to pull me through 50 miles when half the time it barely gets me through a marathon. At the same time, I’ve pushed through a lot of situations that I thought I would never get through in races. Why should this time be any different? Our parents always tell us we can do anything we set our minds to, right? But I don’t know. I’m kind of sick of “surviving” races. It’s nice to feel semi-decent during them every once in awhile, and I have a hard time believing that will be the case in an ultra given that I don’t even feel semi-decent most days of the week. Then again, it’s an ultra and I’ve been wanting to do one of these for awhile! No pain, no gain, right? No guts, no glory? Or something like that.
Then I think about how expensive this season of races is slated to be. I’ve done marathons in most of the states within driving distance now, so the majority of the states I have remaining are in the far northeast and the west. Living in my sweet little state with our quaint little airports, I’m looking at at least $2000 worth of flights alone this year, not including all the other costs associated with racing. Does it make sense for me to spend money on gas, hotel, etc to drive to Florida, a state I’ve already run in multiple times (and so has Amanda, for that matter), for a race I might not even be able to finish? It obviously doesn’t, but is it worth the risk anyway?
Another complicating factor is the sheer existence of the Myrtle Beach Marathon just one week later, on February 16. It’s local. It’s crazy cheap for Maniacs. There are a ton of Maniacs there. Amanda and I have a free place to stay. AJ wouldn’t hate me for being gone all weekend. The medal is pretty legit. Yes, I have already done South Carolina before, but this way I would get a marathon in the month of February (which my body could almost certainly handle…probably) and the only cost would be the cheap registration fee. It’s quite tempting.
So, I don’t know what to do or what to think. I have a tendency to always think I am quitting or giving up when I don’t do the “full” distance that I expect of myself, no matter what the circumstances. I beat myself up about my DNF at Flying Pig this past year for months. Part of me thinks I would feel the same way if I don’t end up doing the 50 miler…but then again, if I don’t finish the 50 miler, it will be just as bad or worse. Oy vey, the mental anguish.
Ok, readers, feel free to weigh in. What would you do if you were me? Tough it out and pray I make it through the 50 miler, or go to Myrtle Beach for some good times and a significantly reduced chance of death? Am I being a wimp, or am I thinking logically for once? I’m also willing to consider the possibility that neither of these are logical and/or adult choices.